Parish History


The Church of Our Saviour is the English Speaking International Roman Catholic Parish of Den Haag. The name Our Saviour was chosen because it is the name of the oldest chapel in The Netherlands, and the original name of the Pope's own Cathedral in Rome, now St. John Lateran.
The parish came into being in 1953 when Fr. Willem Vroom, a Dutch Air Force Chaplain, recognised the need for a ministry to the English-speaking Catholic military personnel stationed in Den Haag. Fr. Theodore Zwartkruis, who studied for the priesthood at the American College in Louvain, Belgium and later became the Bishop of Haarlem, assisted Fr. Vroom with the initial congregation.
In order to meet the needs of this rapidly expanding community, the Redemptorist Fathers were contacted. They offered to celebrate Mass with the community in their house chapel at Laan Copes van Cattenburch. At first they took turns celebrating Sunday Mass, but later assigned Fr. Hubert Vijgen to the congregation as its first pastor. He was succeeded by Fr. Bernard van Schaick, who guided the parish for 22 years, until he retired in 1979. During Fr. van Schaick's pastorate the parish outgrew the Redemptorist house chapel and moved to the Edith Stein College Chapel. Fr. James Finley became the pastor in 1979. During his tenure the congregation and its activities grew. Fr. Timothy Clegg joined him as co-pastor from 1983-84. Fr. Stephen Mangen then served as co-pastor with Fr. Clegg until June 1985.
Rev. Joseph de Water was appointed as pastor by the Cura Migratorum, and served until September 1985. Fr. James Halstead OSA, an Augustinian priest studying at the Catholic University of Louvain, followed as interim pastor until Fr. Charles Talar began his pastorate in June 1986. Fr. David Buescher was our pastor from 1990-94 and was followed by Rev. Raymond M. Rafferty from 1994-98.
Fr. Sjaak de Boer, our present pastor, a Mill Hill missionary, obtained his Ph.D. from Louvain University. He worked in Kenya and in Brazil where he was university chaplain and pastor of the Itaguai Cathedral in Greater Rio de Janeiro. Fr. Sjaak began his ministry in Den Haag in July 1998.
In the pastoral year 2003-2004 we celebrated our Golden Jubilee and after 25 years of worshipping in the Aloysius College and a short stay at the Christ the King church in Mariahoeve, we moved into our own permanent church building in December 2003. We shared this building at Bezuidenhoutseweg 157 with the Dutch parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel but on December 2nd 2007 The Church of Our Saviour became the full owner of the church.
The Dutch parish still has two weekly Masses in the church, on Wednesday at 12.30 and Saturday evening at 17.30 and we also have an Indonesian Parish, which celebrates Mass on the first and third Sundays of the month.
After a period of extensive renovation the ‘Official Opening’ of our new Pastoral Centre took place on Saturday 29th October 2011. It was a weekend of celebration since on Sunday 30th October we had a Mass and reception for Fr. Sjaak’s Silver Jubilee of his ordination.
Our Pastoral Centre is used by many different parish and non-parish groups and the Atrium and bar areas can be rented for various functions. This way we hope to cover some costs.
Our Parish is truly international. In January 2014 we had about 1200  registered families. People come from every continent and some 97 different nationalities to worship and work together as one body, and it is this that helps to create the lively spirit which exists in the Church of Our Saviour.