Medieval Memoria Online

5.4 Points of special interest

Meaning of the term ‘original institution’

See 5.2 for the meaning of the term ‘original institution’ in the context of this database.


Names of the original institutions

The MeMO database intends to make the institutions easy to find in as many ways as possible; one of these is their name. This proved problematic in many cases, because

  • Many institutions are known under many different names
  • The patron saints of many of the institutions is unknown, which precludes using the name of the saint as the point of departure for a name search
  • There are institutions whose medieval name is not known, especially in the case of parishes
  • There are medieval churches as well as much later buildings that share the same name in the same town or city

The following basic approaches have therefore been applied:

  • As much as possible the names have been used that the institution was and is known by, with preference to the medieval name, taking the patron saint’s name as the point of departure.
  • If the institution is better known under a different name, this name is also mentioned in the field for the Dutch name. This may mean that a modern name has been included between brackets. In this way it may be easier to identify the institution involved. The Domkerk in Utrecht, for instance, is indicated as ‘St. Maartenskerk (Domkerk)’, see MeMO institution ID 21.
  • The names of the parish churches deserve special mention. The parish churches were transferred into protestant hands in the part of the Netherlands that became protestant due to the Reformation by the end of the sixteenth century (the whole country except Noord-Brabant, Limburg, parts of Guelders and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen). This was regarded as a reform of the existing public church rather than an expropriation. The parishes were not dissolved, but reformed. In most cases the saint’s name fell into disuse. In the nineteenth century however, catholicism re-emerged as a public religion, due to the separation between church and state (1796) and the reinstatement of the episcopal hierarchy in 1853. In many places a catholic church was founded, which was often named after the established (i.e. previous) patron saint. In Amsterdam, for example, a new St Nicolas’ Church was established besides the (Dutch Reformed) Old Church, or St Nicolas’ Church. It is self-evident that in such cases the description in MeMO always refers to the old church. In cases where the patron saint is unknown to us, the MeMO database provides the name of the settlement, e.g. ‘Church of Jelsum’, MeMO institution ID 167. Please take into account that in the literature provided there can also be indications such as ‘protestant church’ or ‘Dutch Reformed Church (Nederlands Hervormde Kerk)’.


Institutions (chapters and confraternities or guilds) that have been established in the buildings of other institutions

  • Only the information on the institution involved (a confraternity or guild, for example) is given for institutions that were established in the building of another institution. Please note: for the building history of parish churches in which a chapter was established, please search under Chapter.


Original place of the functioning of the sources

In the literature it has been indicated for a number of cases that an object or text originated in a certain institution, while another institution is mentioned in other publications. As much as possible those sources have been placed under all institutions mentioned. For this reason the list of extant objects and text carriers must be interpreted as certainly, probably or possibly from that institution. See for example MeMO memorial object ID 618.