history of the church probably starts at the end of the 12th
century, with a three-aisled vaulted cruciform basilica which
at that time has the title of chapel only and is mainly used
by the fishermen and tradesmen who have settled at the banks
of the river Aa. In the 13th century permission is granted to
use the building as a parish church, named Onze Lieve Vrouwe
ter Aa (Church of Our Lady ter Aa), although the church is also
dedicated to St. Nicolaas, protector of sailors.
The current church is largely the result of a major transformation
of this Romanogothic church into a Gothic one. It started with a new choir in 1452, which
is very similar to that of the Martinikerk,
and after heightening of the transept and the addition of side-aisles
little was left of the old church. After the Reformation in 1594
catholicism was banned, and the name of the church was shortened
to Der Aa-kerk or even A-kerk. In 1671 lightning struck the tower,
destroying its upper part and the western vaults of the nave.
The tower was rebuild in such an amateuristic fashion that in
1710 it collapsed, destroying part of the nave. A new tower in
Classical style was built where the destroyed part of the nave
used to stand. The colourful upper part was designed by town
architect Allert Meijer and was completed in 1718.
A big restoration was started in 1975 and was completed in 1987.
In that year the church-counsil handed the building to a seperate
foundation that now maintains it and rents it for all sorts of