Neviges Mariendom: A Brutalist Pilgrimage Church

Neviges Mariendom is a pilgrimage church and parish located in Nevige, Germany. Nevige has been a popular pilgrimage area since the 17th century. There was an old Baroque monastery dedicated to the Immaculate Conception but soon it became too small for the growing numbers of pilgrims. In the 1960s, The Cardinalate of Cologne decided to build a new church with a bigger capacity.

Neviges Mariendom

Gottfried Böhm designed a church in a brutalist style to reflect the change in post-war Germany and the Catholic Church. Both the society and the religious architecture became more austere and that was reflected in the design of the religious buildings.

The design won the approval of the cardinal and it was consecrated in 1968 and became known as Mariendom and Wallfahrtsdom. It is the second largest church in the Diocese of Cologne, after Cologne Cathedral.


The modernist church resembles a concrete building among wood. Its irregular roof and its forum-like interior became Böhm’s signature building.

Böhm was the first German architect to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize for his distinctive style and rejection of traditional emulation. The concrete roof of the building has been likened to tents, crystals, and a rock. The structure is also reminiscent of an abstract cubist sculpture.

Neviges Mariendom
Neviges Mariendom

The entrance hall has a low ceiling and it is kept dark on purpose to illuminate the altar through the large stained glass windows to make it the brightest place. The interior is intended to resemble a marketplace, it is plainer than the previously elaborately decorated churches.


The most elaborate part of Neviges Mariendom is the stained glass windows that Böhm himself designed in accordance with the Marian themes like the rose.


The church is also known as Böhm’s Church of Pilgrimage, Pilgrimage Church of Nevijes, and Church of Mary Queen of Peace.

Neviges Mariendom