Old Church - Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

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Oudekerksplein 23 +31-20-6258284

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  • Sitting between two chairs.
    Sitting between two chairs.
    by breughel
  • Misericords in Oude Kerk.
    Misericords in Oude Kerk.
    by breughel
  • Spinning pig.
    Spinning pig.
    by breughel
  • georeiser's Profile Photo

    Oude Kerk

    by georeiser Written Aug 28, 2009

    Oude Kerk means "Old Church". It is Amsterdam’s oldest parish church, consecrated in 1306. The church covers an area of 3,300 square meters. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district.

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    Oude Kerk

    by leafmcgowan Written Apr 30, 2009

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    The Oude Kerk is the oldest parish church in Amsterdam. It was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht and is located in the De Wallen, Amsterdam's main red-light district. The church spans over 3,000 square meters. Its foundation was set upon an artificial mound. Its roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe. The floor is primarily gravestones as the church was built atop a cemetery. The planks are Estonian and date to 1390. The church has gone through numerous renovations through its history. The first set of alterations occured in the 1350's where the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. During the 15th century, the north and south transepts were added creating a cross formation. This work was completed in 1460. Before the Alteratie or "Reformation" in 1578 the Church was primarily "Catholic". The Church then became Protestant. The 16th century saw many battles leading to the Church becoming looted and defaced. It became a public space where the locals gossiped, peddlers selling their wares, beggars sought shelter, but in 1681 the Calvinists fed up with the homeless kicked them out. The Church was closed off with a brass screen. Then the Church became a center for the registry of marriages, followed by the city archives. Local citizens continued to be buried underneath the church up until 1865 with a total count of 2500 graves containing over 10,000 Amsterdam citizens. Pipe organs were built in 1658 with the cabinet organ constructed in 1767. The third was built by the German Christian Vater in 1724 establishing the finest baroque organs in Europe. Today, many concerts are performed here including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. This is now a center for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions, and dinner parties.

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    The Old Church/Oude Kerk

    by malianrob Updated Nov 25, 2008

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    This is a 14th century gothic style church. It used to be a catholic church called St Nicholas's Church. It is now a Dutch reform or Protestant church. St Nicholas was the patron saint of Amsterdam and of sailors and of this church. As a matter of fact, when sailors saw the church frolmfar away on the ocean they knew they would be home soon and it brought them a sense of comfort. The construction of this church was started in 1250 and completed in 1566.
    There is a tour of the church every hour and you can climb the church tower and get some nice views of Amsterdam. Most famous though is the 1728 open organ that is still in use today. Another interesting fact is that Rembrandts wife is entombed here.

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    Oude Kerk - the Old Church

    by yooperprof Written Aug 13, 2008

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    The Old Church is one of the most fascinating places in the entire city, because it is so much of a perfect analogy of the ways in which history is made up of stratum upon stratum of detail and inspiration and metaphor. It's one of the very oldest structures in the entire city - parts of it dating back to the early 14th century. But of course it contains elements of virtually every other century and time period since then.

    In order to find the Oude Kerk you have to go into the heart of the Red Light District. And indeed, the neighborhood around the church has been "seedy" for centuries, which helps explain the aura of decay which is such a basic character of the place. Moreover, the medieval roots of the church are themselves layered - like the "core" of an onion - underneath the accretions of 17th and 18th century additions beyond. Today, much of the Oude Kerk feels neglected and forgotten - it is a very big space, and you can tell that the keepers of this place have their hands absolutely full just keeping it running, much less attempting any kind of full-scale restoration.

    But as the Red Light District metamorphosizes in the 21st century, perhaps the future of the Oude Kerk will bring some increased funding and a little more attention.

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  • Very special wood carvings in Old Church

    by edgardamsterdam Written Jun 16, 2008
    Oude Kerk, Amsterdam
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    On the choir-benches of the Old Church, you can find rather surprising wood carvings from around 1480.
    Small human figures who all show an everyday situation or a Dutch proverb, dozens of them. Proverbs like : "I don't grow money from my but" (I'm not rich), "He sits in between two chairs" (He cannot make up his mind).
    Not only the popular presentations are special, but also that they survived the protestant iconoclast destruction of September 26th, 1566. All statues, paintings and images were destroyed on that day. Like the months before in most churches of the Netherlands of the time (Holland, Belgium and North of France). Only these scenes of daily life were untouched.

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    Oude Kerk

    by Rupanworld Written Feb 2, 2008

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    Unfortunately I did not take a photo as I could not decide upon a good angle to take the photo from. It is situated alongside the canal in the Red Light District of amsterdam. It is the oldest building in Amsterdam, dating back to 1250 AD. It has beautiful inside decor in wood.

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    Great Church

    by jfinigan Written Nov 30, 2007

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    Model of the church
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    This is one of the oldest Churches in Amsterdam. It is beautiful. There is a lot of History here and the stained glass windows are beautiful too. It is right in the heart of the RLD. A must see if you like historic buildings.

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  • jss1018's Profile Photo

    An awe-inspiring church

    by jss1018 Updated Mar 3, 2007
    Old Church (Oude Kerk), exterior
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    The Old Church ("De Oude Kerk" in Dutch) was another of my favorites from the places we visited. Although there are certainly some gigantic and beautiful churches and cathedrals in the U.S., how can you find one there with this much history? It's original structure dates back to the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries from what I've read, almost 400 years longer than we've even been a country. Amazing.

    It was a humbling experience, to say the least, when walking into this facility for the first time. Kinda puts a different perpective on your place in the cosmos. A cavernous main area, and the the "Great Organ" and stained glass windows are incredible. If you go there, look down at the floor and you'll realize you're walking on very large tombstones, with over 10,000 people having been buried there from around 1300 to 1865, including Rembrandt's wife.

    I would very much like to re-visit this, since we went there as one of our first places to see, and were a little out of it from the fatigue of the trip over, adjusting to the new surroundings, and it being rather cold that day for walking. It's a very short walk from Dam Square, and located right at the Red Light District. Don't let that put you off for visiting, though, you probably wouldn't know it unless you had already researched the area and were pretty observant when walking about.

    It's impossible to describe everything about this place here, best to check out the Website for it. Definitely on our must-visit list.

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  • simonli625's Profile Photo

    Oude Kerk/old church - oldest building

    by simonli625 Updated Oct 19, 2006

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    The oude kerk or the old church is one the oldest building in Amsterdam. It was built on the site of a wooden church from the 12th century. The church was Consecrated by the bishop of Utrecht in 1306 and was originally called Sint-Nikolaaskerk. St. Nicholas was the patron saint of the city.

    The church is magnificant inside and outside. It is located right at the beginning of the red light district. Once you get inside, you will noticed the unusal wooden roof. It is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe.

    The floor inside the church is actually gravestones. Rembrandt's wife Saskia was buried here. Over 10,000 citizens of Amsterdam was buried here until 1865.

    The church was Catholic before the Alteratie in 1578. After the reformation, Amsterdam became a protestant city and the church was modified to fit into the protestant style. When the new townhall in the dam square completed and the Nieuw Kerk gradually took over its status.

    The church is a now a popular venue for special exhibits and concerts.
    You also have to check out the wood carving by the chorus bench. They are craved to depict proverbs at that time. You can take a map from the entrance and it will explain what each craving means. They are quite interesting.

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    Oude Kerk

    by jo104 Written Aug 30, 2006

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    This church is in the “Oude Zijde” (Old Side) of the medieval city and ironically its location is smack bang in the heart of Red Light District. This Gothic church was built in early 14th century in honour of the patron St Nicholas. The church tower was built in 1565 & is one of the most beautiful in Amsterdam. The Calvanists left their mark on this church smashing & looting many of the churches priceless paintings, statues & alters.

    Unfortunately you can only visit the tower on weekends when special tours are operated. We decided not to visit the church as the tower was not open but decided to rather climb the tower of Zuid Kerk which was open with a 30min tour.

    Opening hours Mon – Fri 11am – 5pm & Sun 1-5pm Adults Euro 5
    Tower open Weekends 1pm-5pm every 30min Euro 5
    Museum card – free, children under 12 free

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    The Oude Kerk

    by mikelisaanna Written Oct 15, 2005

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    The Oude Kerk in Amsterdam
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    The Oude Kerk, or Old Church, is one of the oldest churches in Amsterdam, dating from the 1300s. Strangely enough, it is located in the middle of the infamous Red Light District, providing sinners an opportunity to redeem themselves.

    Although church services are still held in a small portion of the church, most of the church's interior is now used as an exhibition space (there was an art show there when we visited). The most interesting features of the interior are its massive pipe organ, its surviving stained glass windows, and the wooden ceiling. Another other interesting feature of the church's interior are the gravestones in the church's stone floor, the most famous of which is the grave of Rembrandt's first wife, Saskia.

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    Oude Kerk Carvings

    by mightywease Written Jul 16, 2005

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    Carving in the Oude Kerk

    The choir stalls of the Oude Kirk are carved with small vignettes many of which represent proverbs or sayings – the one represented in the picture is, according to the interesting official website (www.oudekerk.nl) “It’s like trying to out-yawn an oven door’: A person can’t yawn as wide as an oven door, i.e. don’t try to accomplish the impossible”.
    Look out for the one that represents “money doesn’t grow on trees”. Let’s just say that the money isn’t falling out of a tree but out of someone’s.. I shall let you guess!

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    Oude Kerk (Old Church)

    by mightywease Written Jul 16, 2005

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    Oude Kerk Tower

    The Oude Kerk (Old Church) stands rather incongruously in the Red Light district of Amsterdam. Built in the 14th century as a replacement for an earlier wooden structure and dedicated to Saint Nicholas. Given Amsterdam’s standing as a port and a centre of commerce perhaps it is no surprise that the church was dedicated to the patron Saint of, amongst other things, pawnbrokers, merchants, water and sailors. The church escaped the fire of 1452, which destroyed much of the city and in 1565 the churches tower was built.
    The interior of the church is large and quite spartan with its stone floor and plain walls, which I imagine provide a good backdrop to the exhibitions the church sometimes hosts. Decoration is in the form of some interesting stained glass windows, the ornamented organ, the vaulted ceiling and – my favourite – the carved wooden choir stalls some illustrating sayings and proverbs.

    Entrance Fee is about 4 euros each

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  • Robert_Hun's Profile Photo

    The oldest church in Amsterdam

    by Robert_Hun Written Apr 17, 2005
    View from the tower

    The Oude Kerk (Old Church) is now a center of cultural activities. The beautiful light through the high windows, the medieval church furnishing, gravestones and the magnificently painted wooden vaults create a unique atmosphere.
    Besides cultural events, exhibitions (eg. the World Press Photo), concerts, receptions and presentations it is open to visitors: Mon-Sat: 11.00-17.00, Sun: 13.00-17.00
    Its tower provides an excellent view of the city.

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  • eden_teuling's Profile Photo

    CLIMB THE TOWER OF THIS CHURCH.........

    by eden_teuling Written Jan 24, 2005

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    BELLS IN THE OLD CHURCH AMSTERDAM...

    The Old Church is the oldest stone building in Amsterdam and thus also the oldest monument.
    It is located in the area from which Amsterdam began to grow outwards into its present form.
    REMBRANDT went there to give notice of his forthcoming marriage to his first wife, Saskia, who was buried under one of the church's 2,500 grave stones. The Church boasts beautiful stained-glass windows dating back from 1550 and the world-famous VATER-MüLLER organ.

    In 1951 the Oude Kerk had to close its doors because it was in danger of collapsing.

    Its restoration took 24 years and the building is now open to the public again.

    It is mainly used for concerts and exhibitions.

    On OPEN MONUMENTENDAG I climbed the tower and met with these bells...........

    I can recommend this climb to you!! It is so rewarding....

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