Lieven de Key

Lieven de Key (1560 — 17 July 1627) was a Dutch renaissance architect in the Netherlands, mostly known today for his works in Haarlem.

The Vleeshal at the Grote Markt in Haarlem is a prime example of the work of Lieven de Key. It was built in 1602-1604. The large Haarlem shield on the front is attributed to Hendrik de Keyser, and some decorations are from drawings by Hans Vredeman de Vries.


This small facade is said to be a masterpiece or demonstration of De Key's abilities, who built it to prove his mastery of the art of masonry and architectural design. It faces the city hall side entrance, where the decision makers of the Haarlem council met.

De Key was born in Ghent, and was already a well-known architect when the Haarlem council asked him to become city architect in 1592 to succeed Wouter den Abt. He brought to Haarlem the same Dutch renaissance style that Hendrick de Keyser brought to Amsterdam. Everything attributed to him or his followers, whether a building, a doorway, or merely a gable stone, is considered a rijksmonument today.

The reason so many buildings in Haarlem can be attributed to him is because Haarlem had suffered a severe fire in 1576 that destroyed a third of the city, and plans were underway for large city projects when he was appointed city architect. Before working in Haarlem and Leiden, De Key had worked in London from 1580-1591.[1] He died in Haarlem, aged about 77.

Buildings he designedEdit


  1. ^ Lieven de Key in the RKD
  2. ^ a b c d e f See the Rijksmonument report for this building
  • Deugd boven geweld, Een geschiedenis van Haarlem, 1245-1995, edited by Gineke van der Ree-Scholtens, 1995, ISBN 90-6550-504-0