Oude Kerk in Amsterdam
A big and monumental church De Oude Kerk (The Old Church) dominates over the Red Light District.
Standing in the church's main entry, you will be amazed to see a coffee shop just left to it, windows with sex workers in front of it and the Princess Juliana Nursery School right of it. Contrast could not be bigger and there. The Oude Kerk is the oldest and for centuries was the most important church in Amsterdam. Although it lost this title to the Nieuwe Kerk (New Curch), it still remains one of the grand sights to visit.
If you feel like touring the town with a knowledgeable guide, then have a look at our guided Amsterdam tours website.
Oude Kerk architecture
Was originally built as a Catholic place of worship, but later became one of the unique buildings expressing the national character of Dutch Protestantism. While all Protestant churches in The Netherlands have modest interiors and enclose very few artefacts, De Oude Kerk is different. De Oude Kerk features things characteristic for the Catholic cathedrals across Europe. Like sculpted misericords in the choir, high windows full of light, impressive old gravestones on its floor and exceptional architecture. It is thaks to these that it is one of the tourist highlights of Amsterdam.
Originally built in the 13th century out of wood but at the end of 13th century rebuilt to a stone church. Because the city grew rapidly, the Oude Kerk has been several times rebuilt and enlarged. The Oude Kerk interior was demolished during the events of August 1566, when Amsterdam population revolted against the Catholic Church. The traces of vandalism remain visible until today. During so called Alteration of 1578, the Oude Kerk became Reformed Protestant church, and as such remains until today.
The Oude Kerk has also a famous historical 17th century grand organ, as well as a smaller transept organ and one more, modern cabinet organ. The church is all year long the venue for an important series of concerts of organ music and a home for The International Organ Festival, held in summer each year, July through September.
Oude Kerk opening hours
You may visit the church and you may also climb its tower to have a view at the oldest part of Amsterdam.
Mon - Sat: 10am – 6pm
Sun: 1pm – 5:30pm
Oude Kerk’s tower is open from April to September, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday between hours 1pm and 5pm, with guided tours leaving every 30 minutes. For a tour beyond opening hours, please call: +31 20 689 25 65
Oude Kerk Tickets
|Students and <21, CJP:||€5|
Madam Saskia van Uylenberg, Rembrandt’s beloved wife fas been buried in the church (grave stone no.29, middle of the left nave’s floor).
In the right nave, you may see on the column the bronze plaque to commemorate Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562 - 1621), one of the biggest Dutch composers, author of organ music, who was an organist at the church.
Oude Kerk is one of Amsterdam's top ten attractions.
How to get to Oude Kerk
Oude Kerk is located at the walking distance from the Central Station and from the Dam square. Avoid arriving there by car, since many streets in Red Light District are not accessible for the traffic. The closest parking garage is at The Bijenkorf.
Oude Kerk in Amsterdam