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Old Church - Oude Kerk Tips (48)

The Oude Kirke

Beautiful and massive 14th century church. Entry is 4 euros or free with the Amsterdam pass. Many of Amsterdams leading citizens are buried in the church. It was built in 1306 and became a clvinistbchurch in 1578.

Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
Sep 08, 2016

Oude Kirke Inside

The Oude Kirke is at its most impressive viewed from the inside. Having been built as a Catholic Church then converted to Calvinism it is more elaborate than most Protestant churches that were built with that intent.

Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
Sep 08, 2016

Oude Kirke Inside

The Oude Kirke has amazing large stained glass windows. Built in 1306 it is the oldest church In Amsterdam and was built by the bishop of Utrecht. It became a Calvinist church in 1578 and remain so to this day.

Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
Sep 08, 2016

Oude Kerk - 2500 Gravestones.

This was unexpected; I could not imagine a church with 2500 gravestones, often real works of art.
With age I developed some interest for gravestones, monumental tombs and especially what we call "gisants" and "pleurants" in French.
The Oude Kerk was built on a cemetery; presently more than 10000 persons are buried in the church. The gravestones have been registered in grave books since 1523 till 1865.
Many gravestones show text mostly in Dutch - a difference from southern countries using Latin inscriptions - but most show just a number. There were two types of gravestones: "Kerkgraven" (church graves) that were cheaper and are marked with the sign K and "Familiegraven" for whole families showing special marks called "huismerk".

All these gravestones underwent a restoration process and for most of them it is known who is buried beneath.
Most famous, at least for tourists, is gravestone nr 29 in the "Weitkoperskapel" of Saskia van Uylernburgh wife of painter Rembrandt. I was more impressed by the grave 50 - 51 in the choir from Gerrit Hooft a "burgemeester" mayor of Amsterdam and collector of paintings and Jacob Boelens, grave 33-34, another burgemeester.
Moving is that of Agata De Bruynne who died at 24 year old.

There are also a few monuments; famous is the one of Jacob van Heemskerck in the Snijderskapel. He was in 1607 the admiral who won the sea battle of Gibraltar against the Spaniards but died hit by a cannonball. His suit of armor - minus a thigh plate shattered by the fatal cannonball - is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

I staid one hour just looking at the gravestones and got help from the attendant to find the Saskia gravestone (the advantage of speaking Dutch in Holland!).

breughel's Profile Photo
Feb 06, 2015
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Oude Kerk

Its name means the "Old Church" which is appropriate given that it is not only Amsterdam's oldest church, but also its oldest structure. It was first built as a small wooden chapel in the early 13th century, then it was reconstructed in stone as a proper church dedicated to Saint Nicolas in the early 14th century (though it continues to have a wooden roof!). Thereafter, following successive expansions, alterations, and damage, it was rendered as it is today. The damage mostly came during the struggle between Catholics and Protestants, but Oude Kerk was claimed by the Protestants once and for all in 1578 and has remained Protestant ever since. Nowadays, it finds itself adjacent to Amsterdam's red light district - quite inappropriate for the city's most important church.

MM212's Profile Photo
Feb 03, 2015

Oude Kerk best example of Hallenkerk.

The "Oude Kerk", indeed the oldest church of Amsterdam, is only a church on Sunday; the other days it is an exhibition hall (the church stands in the "Wallen" the brothel district proposed by this website as Nr 1 to visit in Amsterdam, before The Anne Franck house and Rijksmuseum ! ).

On my visit there was an exhibition of photos "World Press Photo 2013", not really what I came for.
I paid to enter, but I hate having to pay for entering a church, makes me think of Jesus driving the merchants out of the temple.
What interested me from an architectural point of view is that this church is a "Hallenkerk" a hall church with nave and side aisles of approximately equal height, often united under a single immense roof; the first "Hallenkerk" to be built in Holland.
The Oude Kerk is an example of Dutch brick Gothic. The construction is light, because the piles on which the church stands do not have much supporting capacity. Therefore the church has a wooden vault and large windows to spare heavy masonry. The surface of the church is large, in comparison to its height.
The ship models hanging at the vaults remember that this church was once (before the Calvinist iconoclasts) the church of the seamen.

I have nothing to say about the tower. I did not climb to the top. It is possible from April till September on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 13 and 17 h (price 6€).
The view on the tower is rather limited from the streets of the neighborhood.

Actually I staid more than one hour in the church just to look at the gravestones (being an old man I'm developing some interest for gravestones).

breughel's Profile Photo
Jan 29, 2015

Very interesting, so much history here

Ouda Kerk, is the OLD church in Amsterdam. Before the Puritan take over, it was in fact a catholic church with 39 rickly decorated altars. There is no sign of these at all now. The Church was stripped bare.

Nowdays it is a museum, and one that is well worth visiting. Exhibitions are regually held here.

The church is in the centre of the medieval district which is now the red light district.

As per the custom in Amsterdam, there are 2 organs, 1 large in the nave, one small by the entrance.

stevemt's Profile Photo
Aug 01, 2014

What’s Old is New

“I was disgusted with the nakedness and meanness of the Protestant churches of Holland.”
— an August 1815 entry from “Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence” 1869 by Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867)

The Old Church is in the heart of Amsterdam, right on the ramparts. It is the oldest building in the city, founded by fishermen on the River Amstel. Sadly we could not see what Mr. Robinson was complaining about for the church was closed when we passed by.

The Bishop of Utrecht consecrated the church to Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, on 17.September.1306. A hundred years later Amsterdam’s population had grown; a new church was built on the Dam: The New Church. St. Nicholas Church came to be called The Old Church.

In addition to religious services, Saint Nicholas Church was also used for worldly things. The fishermen repaired their nets and sails here. It was a lively meeting place for residents and merchants, where they exchanged views and walking around during an organ concert. Because of these different functions, the church was nicknamed the “Living Room of Amsterdam.”

After the Protestant Reformation, when there was an iconoclastic cleansing of the church, little remained in the church that recalled the Roman Catholic faith but the building itself. Icons were smashed, altars removed, murals painted over, the ceremonial silver was looted or melted down. The Reformed Dutch faith was now the state religion and Catholics were forced to hold services in secret churches.

Rembrandt’s marriage to Saskia van Uylenburgh took place in the Old Church.

Oudekerk the tower is the oldest tower in the city. Climbing the tower is made under the guidance of an experienced guide. The tower is open for visits from April to September, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 13:00 - 17:00, every half hour a climb will start.

von.otter's Profile Photo
Oct 01, 2013

Top 5 Amsterdam Writers

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"God made the Dutch, but the Dutch made Holland"
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"Amsterdam - I love it!"
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"Amsterdam, is it real?"
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"Amsterdam, where the Dutch money is spend"
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Oude Kerk - Koorbanken/Misericords.

In the Netherlands religion was not exempt of humor, until the "beeldstormers" iconoclasts started their destruction of religious works of art. The "koorbanken" misericords of the Oude Kerk have been for most of them preserved from destruction and they are one of the things to see of the church and are part of the guided tours. There is also a leaflet (in Dutch) detailing the 34 misericords of the Oude Kerk also called "zittertjes" small seats.
A misericord is a small wooden shelf on the underside of a folding seat in a church, installed to provide a degree of comfort for persons who had to stand during long periods of prayer.
These misericords were probably made around 1480 according to the style of the clothes and survived the iconoclasts.
The iconoclast fury, mainly under influence of the Calvinists, started in the north of France in 1566 and moved to the north through Flanders, Brabant, Antwerp and finally reached Amsterdam.
A terrible destruction of art! The interior of more than 100 catholic churches, abbeys, convents was destroyed as well as their libraries.
This resulted in the Eighty Years' War, or Dutch War of Independence, (1568–1648), began as a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands.

In the choir of the Oude Kerk 34 misericords reached us. The carver is unknown. Most show proverbs or humoristic even obscene scenes of daily life:
"Een varken die aan het spinnen is" A pig that is spinning. Photo 2.
I tried to find the meaning of this. It seems it has something to do with the work of women ("Spinnende Eva"). But in Dutch of the Middle Ages a "spinrokken" = distaff had also an erotic meaning. Here I will stop my search.
Another misericord (photo 3) needs no explanation.
This one (photo 4) is that of the proverb "sitting between two chairs".

breughel's Profile Photo
May 30, 2013

De Oude Kerk

De Oude Kerk or Old Church is the oldest Amsterdam monument. It dates back to 1275.
The church was devoted to Saint Nicolas, the bisshop of Myra by Guy van Avesnes, bisshop of Utrecht. Through the ages the church was known as the St. NIcolas church until the new St. Nicolas church was build in 1884-1887.

The building started as a wooden church, but soon was replaced by a stone building that was expanded through the centuries.

In the last quarter of the 20th centyry the church was renovated completely.
In september 2006 the church was 700 years in sevrice and this celebrated in a big way.

In the floor of the church there are many gravestones of famous Dutchmen.

Rembrandt married in this church in the so-called Spiegelzaal (mirror room).

Opening hours:
Mo-Sa: 11AM - 5PM
Su: 1PM - 5PM

Admission: € 8,00 (adult)

pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
May 06, 2013

Oude Kerk(Old Church)

The Oude Kerk is Amsterdam's oldest parish church,consecrated in 1306 by the Bishop of Utecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint.It stands in 'De Wallen'now Amsterdam's Red Light District.the square surrounding the church is the 'Oudekerkssplein'.
Rembrandt was a frequent visitor to the church as his children were all christened is the only building in Amsterdam that remains in its original state since Rembrandt walked in its halls.In the Holy Sepulchre is a small Rembrandt exhibition,a shrine to his wife 'Saskia van Uylenburgh'who was buried here in 1782.The church covers an area of some 3,300 metres.The foundations were set on an artificial mound,thought to be the most solid ground of the settlement in this marshy province.The roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe,the Estonian planks date back to 1390 and boast some ofthe best acoustics in Europe.
Opening times for visitors:Mon-Sat-11.00 till 17.00,Sun-13.00 till 17.00.
Entry is 5 Euros per Adult,Students 4 Euros,Children under 12 is free.

mickeyboy07's Profile Photo
Mar 25, 2012

Amsterdam Churches

The Oude Kerk ("old church") is Amsterdam’s oldest parish church, consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.

The Zuiderkerk ("southern church") is a 17th Century Protestant church in the Nieuwmarkt area. The church played an important part in the life of Rembrandt and was the subject of a painting by Claude Monet.
The Zuiderkerk was the city's first church built specifically for Protestant services. It was constructed between 1603 and 1611 and stands on the Zuiderkerkhof ("Southern Graveyard") square near the Sint Antoniesbreestraat.

The English Reformed Church is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam, situated in the centre of the city. It is home to an English-speaking congregation which is affiliated to the Church of Scotland and to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. It comes under the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Europe, and is also known as the Scots Kirk in Amsterdam.

The Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church") is a 15th-century church, located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace.
The church was damaged by the city fires of 1421 and 1452 and burned down almost entirely in 1645, after which it was rebuilt in Gothic style. It underwent major renovation in 1892–1914, which added many neo-Gothic details, and was again renovated in 1959–1980.

Church of St. Nicholas (St. Nicolaaskerk) is located in the Old Centre district of the city. It is the city's major Catholic church.
Officially the church was called St. Nicholas inside the Walls, i.e. the oldest part of the Amsterdam defence works. The architect, Adrianus Bleijs (1842-1912) designed the church basing himself on a combination of several revival styles of which Neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance are the most prominent models.

You can watch my 2 min 27 sec Video Amsterdam in the evening part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
Mar 17, 2012

Things To Do Near Old Church - Oude Kerk

Things to do

Museum Amstelkring

Is it a house; is it a church? The "Our Lord in the attic" Museum a.k.a. Museum Amstelkring Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder is one of the oldest Amsterdam museums. Behind what looks an average canal house,...
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Things to do

China Town

Amsterdam has a chinatown area just north of the Nieuwemarket area. It's not a very big area but has numerous shops and restaurants selling Chinese food, crafts and medicines. It a great place to get...
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Things to do

De Waag

“Great abundance of riches cannot be gathered and kept by any man without sin.” — Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536, Dutch theologian and philosopher) Built in 1488 as a fortress to defend the city, what...
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Things to do


De Waag is the old weight house now converted into a restaurant. It was built in the 15th Century originally being a gate on the city walls prior to being a weight house and is the oldest non...
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Things to do

Beurs van Berlage

Old exchange building. This historical site is just south of Dam square on Damrak. It was built in 1903 and served as The Netherlands main exchange until it was converted into a space for concerts and...
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Things to do

Vodka Museum

I discovered this museum, when I was walking at the Damrak. The museum looks not good from the outside but is a blast from the inside. I did the pro tour and get a very nice guide with me. She told me...
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Getting to Old Church - Oude Kerk


Oudekerksplein 23


  • Sunday 13:00 to 17:00
  • Monday 11:00 to 17:30
  • Tuesday 11:00 to 17:30
  • Wednesday 11:00 to 17:30
  • Thursday 11:00 to 17:30
  • Friday 11:00 to 17:30
  • Saturday 11:00 to 17:30