Adrianus Bleijs

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Adrianus Cyriacus Bleijs (29 March 1842, Hoorn - 12 January 1912, Kerkdriel) also known as A.C. Bleijs or, incorrectly, as A.C. Bleys, was a Dutch architect and painter who is primarily known for designing several Catholic churches.

Bleijs was born in Hoorn as the son of a master carpenter who built several houses in that town. Bleijs was trained in architectural skills by architect B. Blanken and engineer H. Linse. In November 1859 he moved to Roermond to join P.J.H. Cuypers’ firm. After a conflict with Cuypers in 1861, for which he refused to apologize, he was forced to leave Cuypers’ firm and went to Antwerp to pursue his further education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where in 1862 he was the first winner of the Premier Prix d'Excellence for architecture and where he graduated in 1864. After graduation he returned to Hoorn and started his own office, which in 1880 he moved to Amsterdam.

For a Catholic architect of that period, Bleijs was unusually eclectic. He did not limit himself to the dominant neo-Gothic style but designed several churches in neo-Romanesque and neo-Renaissance style as well, despite the latter style being controversial in Catholic circles for its supposedly Protestant character. Besides fourteen churches he designed, among other things, two Amsterdam hospitals. His best known work is the St. Nicolas Church in Amsterdam. Among his students were such notable architects as Willem Kromhout and Jan Stuyt.

After ca. 1900 no further assignments came, and in 1903 Bleijs closed his office and became a civil servant in 's-Hertogenbosch. He died in Kerkdriel and after a funeral mass at the St. Nicholas Church in Amsterdam he was buried at the Catholic cemetery De Liefde.