the new cathedral of Sint Bavo in Haarlem

Is Mgr. Jos Punt the eleventh or the thirteenth bishop of Haarlem? The thirteenth. The eleventh sincethe reinstatement of the Episcopal Hierarchy. The eleventh since 1853, the thirteenth since 1559. That is when the diocese of Haarlem was established. There is another important year in the history of the diocese of Haarlem: 1955. From 1853 till 1955 the bishops of Haarlem supervised the entire western half of the Netherlands: the provinces North- and South-Holland and ‘Zeeland’. The diocese of after 1955 is almost as large as the diocese of 1559.

The first bishop

mgr Nicolaas van Nieuwland

mgr. Nicolaas van Nieuwland

Nicolaas van Nieuwland was born in 1510. Already by 1541, he was appointed bishop. Bishop of Hebron in the Holy Land. He had no assignment there, but even nowadays, every bishop has to have a title city to be able to be bishop. He does not have any business there. He has an assignment elsewhere, most often as assistant to an established bishop. Mgr. Punt also had an appointed city ‘in the land of the nonbelievers’, one used to say. Titular bishop of .., one says now. Mgr. Jan Hendriks is titular bishop of Arsacal in North-Africa. Nicolaas’ assignment was: to be sufragan (bishop) of Utrecht. The only bishop in the Netherlands above the great rivers in those days was the bishop of Utrecht, and he always had one or more sufragan bishops to perform all sorts of orders.

Eighteen dioceses

In 1559, at the request of King Phillip II, eighteen dioceses were established for the then -with much effort- united Seventeen Netherlands: three archdioceses: Mechelen, Ecclesiastical capital of the Netherlands, Utrecht and Kamerrijk (Cambrai). Above the great rivers, Utrecht became archdiocese, and Middelburg, Haarlem, Deventer, Groningen, and Leeuwarden dioceses. Shortly thereafter the search for suitable bishops started. For Haarlem, Nicolaas was appointed. On November 6th 1561 he accepted his nomination, he held his inauguration on February 1st 1562. So he had already been bishop for more than twenty years by then, however now he occupied the bishop’s chair in the old St.Bavo, which became the Cathedral. (People from Limburg, who took a taxi on the 29th of September 2001 to the St.Bavo Cathedral, to be present for the inauguration that day, were taken to the ‘Grote Markt’. Haarlem is the only city where the Cathedral church of 1559 kept the name of cathedral even after the protestantization of the church. Of course, after 1853 a new R.C. Cathedral was built, however most taxi drivers’ knowledge is not up to date.) Source: website diocese Haarlem-Amsterdam

Diocese Haarlem-Amsterdam

As an Amsterdam church community, the Krijtberg is part of the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam. The cathedral, dedicated to the holy Bavo, is located in Haarlem.


mgr. Jozef Punt, bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam









mgr. Jan Hendriks, sufragan bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam