M: What a contrast! On the one hand, there’s the historic town wall and the town generally, informed by many examples of medieval architecture, and with the old Protestant parish church of St. James. And just a few metres away, we have the contemporary Roman Catholic parish church of St. John the Evangelist. It’s contrasts like these that make Niederstetten so fascinating.
F: In the course of the expulsions from Germany’s Eastern territories after the end of the Second World War, large numbers of Roman Catholics arrived in Niederstetten. They quickly outgrew the beautiful old Baroque church of "Maria Immaculata" at Haltenbergstetten Palace, which for hundreds of years had served as the town’s Roman Catholic parish church.
M: So in May 1965, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of a new parish church, which was consecrated in 1966. As one of the first prefabricated churches in the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, it was a model of that style of construction, and one that was followed by many other churches. Because the number of Roman Catholic parishes in traditionally Protestant North Württemberg was steadily growing. There was a shortage of ecclesiastical buildings everywhere. But prefabricated churches could be put up quickly and cheaply.
F: Because ours is considered a particularly authentic example of this type of church and has had no structural alterations, it has been a listed building since 2021.
M: The bell tower is especially eye-catching. Originally, it was supposed to be directly connected to the church. But that wasn’t possible for structural reasons, so it was built to be free-standing. Which makes Niederstetten exceptional ecumenically, because both the Protestant church and its Roman Catholic counterpart have free-standing towers.
F: Would you like to know what the interior of the church looks like? Move on to your next stop for a tour.
Fotos: © Trüpschuch