Oude Kerk or Old Church – the oldest building in Amsterdam.
A small timber chapel for fishermen was first erected in 1213 at this location. In 1306, the Bishop of Utrecht named and dedicated this church to Saint Nicholas. As the city’s population expanded a century later, the Church of Saint Nicholas became the ‘old church’ when the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church at Dam Square was sanctified.
Like many churches in the Netherlands before Reformation, Oude Kerk was a Roman Catholic Church. It was switched from Papist to Puritan in 1578 when Amsterdam joined the revolt against Spain. It became a Protestant church.
The Oude Kerk has about 2500 gravestones with over 12000 people buried within. One of the famous grave is Rembrandt’s wife Saskia Uylenburgh buried under tombstone number 29K, near the entrance of the Holy Sepulchre chapel. Such burial practice was banned since 1 January 1866.
There are many notable features at this church. The roof/ceiling is the largest medieval wooden surface vault in Europe. It provides great acoustics when the organs are played during church services three times a week. The Oude Kerk has two monumental organs, an Italian organ and a cabinet organ. One of the main organ, Vater-Müller organ (1726/1742), occupies a prominent place on the west side but it is currently being restored. There are old painting from 15th century, stained-glass windows from 16th and 17th centuries, beautifully carved misericords at the choir stalls, 18th century pulpit, period rooms and famous Hemony Carillon in the church tower. I was told climbing this Oude Kerk tower with guide is possible too.
Oude Kerk was officially a museum as of May 2016, making it the first church building in the Netherlands to become a museum. This 800-year-old church is the center for both religious and cultural activities for exhibitions, performances and music. It is located within Amsterdam’s Red Light District among brothels, bars and cannabis shops. Visit if you have one of those passes that give you free entry. The €10.00 for an adult ticket is rather expensive. There is a No cash policy for ticket purchase at the door. Only debit and credit cards will be accepted.
Check out the surrounding area for:
Bronze Breast Plate – https://www.facebook.com/iBecomingDutch/posts/1549667071750077
Belle Statue – https://www.facebook.com/iBecomingDutch/posts/1560979707285480
Narrowest Street in Amsterdam – www.facebook.com/iBecomingDutch/posts/1446481818735270:0
Our Lord in the Attic Museum – https://www.facebook.com/iBecomingDutch/posts/1531419033574881
Address: Oudekerksplein 23. 1012GX Amsterdam.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat from 1000hrs – 1800hrs & Sun from 1300hrs-1730hrs.
Entrance Fees: Debit and credit cards only. No cash! €10 per person. Free for kids under 13 years old. Free entry with Museumkaart, Iamsterdam City Card and more. Check website for more details.
Getting There: About 10 minutes walk from Amsterdam Central Station.