The Oude Kerk in Amsterdam

Immerse yourself in Amsterdam’s rich history by visiting the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in the city. This iconic church offers a glimpse into the past with its ancient architecture, mysterious chambers, and captivating stories that span over seven centuries.

Nestled in the heart of Amsterdam, the Oude Kerk stands as a captivating testament to the city’s past, boasting the title of the oldest building in the capital. With its rich history dating back to medieval times, this iconic church served as a hub of religious devotion, community gatherings, and even a covered burial ground for thousands of Amsterdam residents.

Explore the Oude Kerk, which boasts centuries-old architecture, secret chambers, and a serene ambience that takes visitors back in time. If you’re a history buff in Amsterdam, this is a must-visit destination!

The Oude Kerk contains 2,500 graves, which serve as the final resting place for 10,000 citizens of Amsterdam.


History of the Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk is the oldest building in Amsterdam, serving as an important cultural and historical site. It played a central role in the medieval city’s social life, hosting celebrations, weddings, prayers, and funerals. The church contained a secret room and a tower with Amsterdam’s oldest masonry, adding to its mystique. A recent discovery in the tower was a time capsule, albeit from 1939, containing letters related to the tower’s maintenance history.

The first church in Amsterdam was a wooden structure, later replaced by a stone church in the 13th century. Excavations around the Oude Kerk revealed remnants of wooden houses and Amsterdam’s oldest stone residential building, offering insights into the city’s early architecture.

The Oude Kerk was a church and a covered cemetery, with approximately 10,000 people buried there between 1300 and 1865. The church contained over 2,000 graves, with stacked coffins that were regularly cleared due to expired or sold burial rights. Even the famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn had to sell the burial rights of his wife’s grave due to financial constraints.

The church’s historical significance extends to the Iron Chapel, a secretive space used to store important documents, including the toll privilege from 1275. The Iron Chapel required multiple keys and a ladder to access, and it remained a mysterious location until the charter cabinet was moved in 1892. The Oude Kerk’s rich history and cultural significance make it a time capsule itself, representing centuries of Amsterdam’s development and social life.

What to Expect

When visiting the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, you’ll discover a historic treasure filled with centuries-old architecture, peaceful environments, and fascinating hidden treasures to uncover.

Graves

The floor of the church is entirely made up of gravestones because it was built on a cemetery. Even after the construction, local citizens were buried within the church’s premises until 1865.

The Oude Kerk has 2,500 graves, which contain the remains of 10,000 Amsterdam citizens, including famous personalities such as Jacob van Heemskerck, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Catharina Questiers, Jacob de Graeff Dircksz, Andries de Graeff, and Saskia van Uylenburgh, who was the wife of Rembrandt.

Pipe Organs

The Oude Kerk is home to four pipe organs, including the old church organ built in 1658 and the cabinet organ built in 1767. One of the finest Baroque organs in Europe was built by the German Christian Vater in 1724 and was praised as “perfect” by the church Commissioners.

It was dismantled during renovations to the church tower in 1738 and was reassembled with modifications made by Casper Müller to enhance its sound. The organ came to be known as the Vater-Müller organ.

Organi Puccini of Pisa constructed the fourth organ for the church in 2010.

Contemporary Art

The Oude Kerk is a hub for contemporary art and heritage. The church has commissioned artists like Nicolas Jaar, Marinus Boezem, Christian Boltanski, Janet Cardiff, and George Bures Miller to create site-specific installations.

Additionally, there is a permanent exhibit on the history of the church and the city of Amsterdam.

Book tickets Online

Tickets for the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam is available online.

Volwassene: € 13,50
Student, 13-17 jaar: € 7
Kind 6-12 jaar: € 3,50
Kind 1-5 jaar Gratis
CJP-kaart: € 7
Museumkaart, I Amsterdam City Card, ICOM, Vriendenloterij VIP-kaart, Stadspas, Vriendenpas Oude Kerk: Gratis

Getting There

Use the Google Maps below to get directions for driving, public transit, walking, ride-sharing, cycling, flight, or motorcycle from your current location to the House of Bols. You can also use the map to explore the surrounding areas to find something interesting.

Contacts Details

For general information about the De Oude Kerk:
E-mail: info@oudekerk.nl
Telefoon: 020 625 8284
Website: oudekerk.nl

Physical Adres:
De Oude Kerk
Oudekerkplein 23
1012 GX Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Opening Hours:

The church is closed on April 27 (King’s Day), December 25 (Christmas Day) and during the construction and dismantling of a new exhibition. The Oude Kerk is open on all other holidays.

  • Daily: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Sunday: 13:00 – 17:00

The Oude Kerk was founded about 1213 and consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint.


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