Located in the centre of Etten-Leur, the Van Gogh Church offers a fascinating glimpse into what is probably the least known period in Vincent van Gogh’s life, but certainly not the least important! In Etten (1881) Vincent decided to become an artist! His family lived here for 7 years (1875-1882). During special holidays Vincent always visited his beloved family in Etten.
The start of a career
This is the church where Van Gogh’s father was minister for seven years and where Van Gogh could regularly be found. Vincent van Gogh first registered as an artist in Etten in 1881. For nine months he lived and worked in the parsonage behind the Dutch Reformed Church. He also had his first drawing studio here.
In the Van Gogh Church you can see how Vincent wrestled with drawing but became better at it through sheer hard work. How he was infatuated by his cousin Kee Vos and the drama which then unfolded. How he had arguments with his father. How he left Etten at Christmas 1881 but never forgot it.
Etten-Leur counts five official Van Gogh Monuments: the former Protestant church (nowadays called Van Gogh Church), the former verger house (nowadays also Van Gogh Shop & Tourist Information), the old Townhall (the place where Vincents was registered as an artist for the first time - a copy of that document can be seen in the church), the Catholic Lambertus church and the spot where the family Van Gogh lived and Vincent had his first workshop/studio; nowadays marked with a statue of Vincent by artist Hein Vree.
All these unusual stories are told in and around the Van Gogh Church. Nine colourful windows, multilingual information panels, showcases, animation and a film in the Van Gogh Petit Cinema will surprise you (we hope). Outside an amazing oversized portrait wall and audio columns take you back in time.
The Van Gogh Shop has a large variety of souvenirs. It is also the ideal starting point for a Van Gogh walk or a cycle trip through the surrounding area.