Originally there was a chapel situated on the site of the current church. This chapel was devoted to Mary and to Saint Nicholas, the patron of the bargees who cast off the vessels at the Westerhaven .
In 1247, the chapel became the parish church and was named Onze Lieve Vrouwe ter Aa - Aa being the nearby river. Groningen had two centers at the time. One of them was around the chapel. Here lived the fishermen and the traders.
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