Westerkerk in Amsterdam
The biggest church in Amsterdam, built 1619 – 1631, the Westerkerk – English: The Western Church, is the most important Protestant church in the city, while its bell tower – the Westerkerk Tower - Dutch: Westertoren, remains until today the pride of Amsterdam, regarded by many, as the city symbol.
Probably for the reason that their land is so flat, the Dutch love towers. The much admired 85m/275ft high Westerkerk Tower, built in 1638, dominates above most of the Old City centre. During the tourist season, you may also climb the Westerkerk Tower and enjoy a truly unique view of Amsterdam from its balcony.
Westerkerk Tower remained the municipal property and today from its top, a big national flag is being hanged on all important days for the city. You may visit the Westerkerk and appreciate its unique modest interior, typical for all Dutch protestant churches, bearing the signs of its rich history.
Visiting days and opening hours
Westerkerk is open to visitors all year round. Westerkerk Tower is open to visitors from April to October. Both – the church and the tower, are closed to visitors on Sunday.
Each Sunday at 10.30 A.M., there is a religious service at the church.
Westerkerk is often the venue for classical music concerts, remarkable with the church exceptional acoustics. Consult their website for the programme.
Westerkerk: 11am – 3pm, all weekdays except Sundays.
Westerkerk Tower: guided climbing of the tower;June through September, 10 A.M. – the last tour leaves at 7.30 P.M.; closed on Sunday.The tours leave each 30 minutes. During the tourist season you are advised to first reserve your place in the tour, and while waiting take a short walk in the nearby Jordaan district.
Check the church website for the shorter visiting hours in April and May. In October - during the weekdays: 11 A.M. – 3.30 P.M., Saturday: 10 A.M. – 5.30 P.M., Sunday closed.
Visiting of the Westerkerk is free.
Tickets for the tours to climb the Westerkerk Tower are €7. Children younger than 6, are not allowed to the tower, because of safety reasons.
At the cost of €85, a special guided tour of the Westerkerk and the Westerkerk Tower may be organized, beyond the usual opening hours. If you are interested please call teleph. +31 20 689 25 65.
Westerkerk carillon concerts
Each Tuesday at 12 A.M. until 1 P.M., the carillon concert on 42 bells is being played from the Westerkerk Tower around the whole area. Listen to it – you will be often surprised to hear popular songs as The Beatles compositions, played out loud from the church.
The bronze plate left from the Westerkerk entry, is in memory of the popular Dutch singer Willy Alberti – the real name of Carel Verbrugge (1926-1985). The text on the memorial calls Verbrugge “our Neapolitan singer”.
Westerkerk is the burial place of the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt, who at the end of his life lived nearby, at Rozengracht 184. A year earlier his son Titus was also buried here. When he died in 1669, Rembrandt was so poor, that he was buried in an unmarked church grave, with several other people, where human remains were buried only for 20 years, to make place for other poor people in the same grave. That is why the exact place of Rembrandt’s grave remains unknown. A memorial shield inside the church on its left nave wall, is a symbolic mark of Rembrandt’s place of burial.
Inside the church, you may also see the big organ with shutters painted by the Flemish painter Gerard de Lairesse (1640-1711) representing scenes from The Bible. Behind the church, you will find the big stone triangle of the Homo Monument.
How to get there
Westerkerk is located at the Prinsengracht canal, with Anne Frank House from one side and the Westermarkt from the other. From the Amsterdam Central Station: tram lines 13, 17 or by bus lines 170, 172 (Westermarkt/Anne Frank House stop).
By car: exit A10 ring on the S105 exit; turn right and continue straight on up to the Bloemgracht canal, disregarding the signs Amsterdam Centrum asking you to turn; when on Bloemgracht - you will see the Westertoren right in front of you. A difficult metered parking in the area or at the Q-Park Europa Parking, Marnixstraat 250.
Westerkerk in Amsterdam