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The imposing white church at the centre of Swellendam town in the Western Cape tends to cause a slowdown in traffic as motorists gawk at its sheer magnificence. The church, a national heritage site, is that of the Nederlandse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) or Dutch Reformed Church denomination. The NGK was the established church of the Dutch colony that first arrived in South Africa in 1652 and the church held sway for over a century before other denominations were allowed to openly worship.
The existing church was built in 1911 after the original had become too small to accommodate the congregation and since the rebuild has been able to house 1400 parishioners. The architects, a Dutch father and son team, incorporated a Cape Revival style to create a unique and awe-inspiring building. Bits of baroque, gothic and Cape Dutch styles were fused into the design. Much of the wood from the old church was re-used, as was... Show more