Church in Bern

Nydeggkirche Und Untertorbrücke
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Falk2

The Reformed Nydeggkirche, whose name derives from the Bernese German term for “Lower Corner,” is situated on the eastern edge of Bern’s Old City, in the Nydegg area.

The Nydegg Castle

The Old Town of Bern is located on a peninsula formed by a loop of the Aare River and developed in several stages. The first major expansion occurred in 1191, extending from the area around Nydeggkirche to the Clock Tower (Zytglogge). In 1190, Duke Berchtold V von Zähringen built Nydegg Castle. After the Zähringen dynasty ended, the castle came under the control of the city and was demolished by the citizens of Bern between 1266 and 1273 to develop the Nydegg area. The castle, which had four corner towers, stood approximately where the church’s current choir is located.

The Church

The Zähringer Monument in Nydegghöfli The original small church was constructed from 1341 to 1346 to replace the old fortress. It was first consecrated in March 1344, with a second consecration on 23 May 1346. This early church featured a bell tower. On 12 January 1469, the city requested the Teutonic Order to donate the Nydegg chapel to the Mary Magdalene Brotherhood and allow them to use the chapel funds for rebuilding. However, the project did not commence until after the end of the Burgundian Wars (1472-1476). Between 1480 and 1483, the city added a tower, and from 1493 to 1504, a new nave was constructed.

After the Protestant Reformation in 1529, the Nydeggkirche was repurposed as a warehouse for barrels, timber, and grain. In 1566, it was restored for worship, with renovations to the windows and walls. However, in 1568, the bell tower roof caught fire and was destroyed. By May 1571, a new roof was completed, and the damaged clockwork repaired. The large wrought iron cross atop the main spire was crafted by Caspar Brükessel during this time. The tower’s current appearance largely dates back to the 1571 reconstruction, with minor later modifications such as the addition of four embrasures in 1625 for defense and eight copper waterspouts in 1631.

Until 1721, Nydeggkirche was a branch church of the Münster of Bern. Today, its congregation is part of the Reformed Churches of the Canton Bern-Jura-Solothurn.

In 1863, the church was extended westward, adding an entrance from the Nydeggbrücke (Nydegg Bridge). From 1951 to 1953, a comprehensive renovation took place, during which bronze reliefs by Marcel Perincioli were added to the main entrance at Nydegghöfli and the bridge entrance.

The Nydegghöflibrunnen, or Stalden Fountain, was placed in a niche under Nydegggasse at Nydegghöfli in 1857. In 1968, the Zähringer Monument was relocated to Nydegghöfli, having previously been situated on the Münster platform.

The Nydeggkirche appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Bern!

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Visiting Nydeggkirche

Address: Nydeggkirche, Nydeggasse, Bern, Switzerland
Duration: 20 minutes

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