Kloostergang van voormalige Mariakerk

In the center of Utrecht you will find a courtyard garden with a cloister. It once belonged to the former church of St. Mary, which was built between 1085-1180. It is the last remaining Romanesque cloister in the Netherlands. The inner garden of the cloister is home to unusual plant species, such as the Mary plant and plants mentioned in the Bible. The city garden is maintained by local volunteers and is open to visitors daily.



Year built


Building Style



Emperor Henry IV and Bishop Koenraad

Past function

Cloister corridor former St. Mary's Church


Last remaining Romanesque cloister in the Netherlands

Owned by Monumentenbezit

Since 2016

Wheelchair accessible

No, the adjacent square does

Visitor information

Open to the public and open daily. The cloister can be found behind the Utrecht Conservatory.

Visiting address:

Mariahoek 14, 3511 LG Utrecht

In the Middle Ages, Utrecht had five chapter churches: St. Salvator's Church, St. Martin's Church (Dom Church), St. Peter's Church, St. John's Church and St. Mary's Church. Chapter churches were churches for secular clergy (canons). The chapter churches each had their own jurisdiction, called immunity. They did not have to pay taxes to the city.

St. Mary's Church was built in several phases between 1085 and 1180. With the construction of St. Mary's Church, the Cross of Churches around the Cathedral was completed. The church was founded by the German Emperor Henry IV and the Utrecht bishop Koenraad of Swabia.

In 1576, during the siege of Vredenburg Castle, the northern bell tower of St. Mary's Church was shot to pieces by Spanish soldiers. The other tower was demolished in 1682. After the Reformation in the 16th century, the church fell further into disrepair. The church has since been used as an English church and a storehouse, among other things. The west part of the church was demolished in 1715.

The remaining parts of the church became Kingdom property in 1811. Between 1813 and 1816, much of the church was demolished. The cloister was spared, because it stood on Old Catholic Church territory. By the mid-18th century, only the choir of the church was still standing. This was used as a concert hall or "city music hall. Finally, in 1845, the choir was also demolished to make way for the Building for Arts and Sciences.

Today this building houses the Utrecht Conservatory of Music. The remains of the choir are still visible under the glass floor of the Conservatory.


On the south side of St. Mary's Church was the pawnyard. The pandhof was surrounded by the medieval cloister. The pawnyard used to be for liturgical purposes. For example, processions were held there and people were buried there. The cloister connected the church with the outbuildings.

After the demolition of the church, a slum was built in the pledge yard. Between 1895 and 1928, restoration work was carried out on the cloister by the State. 

The pandhof is the last preserved Romanesque pandhof in the Netherlands and the last remaining part of the chapter church. The cloister and the pandhof are still at the Romanesque town level, which means they are one and a half meters lower than the current town level. The walls were originally of tuff but were replaced with walls of brick in later centuries. The columns and capitals are of sandstone.

Since 2016, the cloister in Utrecht has been owned by Monumentenbezit. It is located on a public square, which is accessible during the day.

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