This rare example of neo-Gothic architecture in Livorno bears witness to the multi-cultural climate that marked the city's history. The Dutch-German Church - Chiesa della Congregazione Olandese Alemanna (designed by Dario Giacomelli and built between1862-64), lying on the Scali degli Olandesi between Piazza Cavour and Piazza della Repubblica, has recently undergone structural restoration work in the first phase of a longterm project to fully restore the building.
The Dutch Church is owned by the few remaining members of the Dutch German congregation. The decline of an active congregation was the prime cause of the decline in the state of conservation of the temple, although this is now growing again following renewed interest in the fate of the church.
Some basic maintenance was assured by the descendants of the members of the former Dutch-German congregation, but this was not enough to prevent the construction of an apartment building just behind the church or to avoid the demolition of the spires for safety reasons.
Already in 1996 there was some water damage inside the Dutch church due to leaks, the walls were unsafe and the great glass panels of the windows had been shattered. In 1997 the congregation was formed again and a new project was presented with the idea of opening the temple for cultural events and not just for worship.
After the last war the church, with its excellent acoustics due to its slender shape, was already being used as an auditorium. Even the celebrated Spanish guitarist Segovia performed here in the 1940s. Sadly, the church organ, one of the best in Tuscany, was stolen during the war.
Following WWII, a huge block of apartments was built directly behind the Dutch church, while repairs to the containing wall of the canal opposite the church have never been fully completed, thus adding to the precarious conditions of this historic building.
With the new millennium the roof was partly fixed and the windows repaired, but a few years later, in 2005, part of the ceiling collapsed onto the old wooden pews. Another minor collapse was visible in 2008 on the structure to the left of the main entrance, and further pieces of the church's facade fell off in 2011 and 2012.
Following the collection of almost 24000 signatures in 2012, funding was awarded to begin the restoration of the Dutch-German Church of Livorno (see articles below).
For further information and to follow the latest news about the future of Livorno's Dutch church, see the Facebook group.