The Oude Kerk is considered the oldest building and the oldest parish church in Amsterdam. The church stands on the cobbled Oudekerksplein on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Despite the beautiful location that takes visitors back in time, the Oude Kerk is clearly a building of the future with long traces to the past. Religious services are still being held regularly, but in 2016 the building also officially became a museum, where contemporary artists can exhibit their works of art. It’s located in the middle of Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
The History of the Oude Kerk
The church originally dates from around 1213, when a wooden chapel was built at the point where the Amstel river flowed into the IJ. At that time the church was very important for the sailors and fishermen who lived there. In 1306 the church was officially dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of fishermen, sailors and merchants. Over the centuries the building evolved into the beautiful monument that still stands there today. Cross barges were built to give it the popular cross shape. The tower with its four church bells and carillon with 47 bells has been rebuilt several times and has changed shape.
In the course of time the church served as Catholic and then Calvinist church. The building has survived revolts, was vandalized during the Iconoclasm in the 16th century and was damaged by fire. The church houses more than 2,500 graves (under which another 10,000 Amsterdammers are buried), with which it is the final resting place of countless civilians, from admirals and governors and from poets to composers. The wife of Rembrandt van Rijn – Saskia van Uylenburgh, is also laid to rest here. The building has been called the ‘Old Church’ since the 15th century. Then the Nieuwe Kerk was built on the Dam as the second church for the growing city of Amsterdam.
Inside the Old Church
De Oude Kerk (Old Church) isn’t just a church, it’s a beautiful historic symbol of religious tolerance in the Netherlands. A church that wasn’t just used by Catholics but Protestants as well. Wherever you look in this church, you see historic objects from the past everywhere and they all have a story to tell. The heavy stones on the ground serve as grave marks from important moments in Amsterdam’s history. Colourful light enters through the stained glass windows, a large number of which were placed in the 15th and 16th centuries. You also see miniature ships that commemorate the early days of De Oude Kerk as a port church. If you look at the ceiling, remnants of Medieval paintings can still be seen on the wooden arches. The beautiful organ is one of the highlights and fills the church with music during organ concerts. Book a guided tour or download the Soundwalk audio tour of the museum to discover this and more.
While many exhibitions and events have been held in the Oude Kerk over the years, in 2016 it became the very first official ‘museum church’ in the Netherlands. The goal is to present contemporary art in a location with a lot of history. Dutch and international curators are invited to exhibit art, organize installations and organize performances in the church. Not only is art exhibited but new works that tell a history of the building’s story are created.
Opening Hours Oude Kerk
Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
(sale of tickets stops at 17:45)
Sunday 13:00 – 17:30
(sale of tickets stops at 17:15)
December 31, open until 4 p.m.,
December 25 & April 27 closed.
|Monday – Saturday||10:00 – 18:00|
|Sunday||13:00 – 17:30|
|December 25 & April 27||Closed|
De Oude Kerk Tickets
Tickets are available at the entrance of the church and below are the specific ticket prices for different age groups.
Note: Visitors can only pay by card. Cash payments are not possible.
Regular entrance prices at the entrance:
|Child 0 – 3||Free|
|Student||€ 5,- (must have a valid student ID with you)|
|Group (less than 15 people)||€ 8,-|
Address, contact information and route to the Oude Kerk
De Oude Kerk is an 8-minute walk from Central Station. The neighborhood is difficult to access for cars and we would recommend that you go there on foot or by public transport (metro).
De Oude Kerk Amsterdam
De Oude Kerk is an 8-minute walk from Central Station. The neighbourhood is in the Red Light District and difficult to access for cars and we strongly recommend that you go there on foot or by public transport (metro). The best way to find your way to the church would be to search the ‘Oude Kerk’ on Google and use your Google map app to find it. It’s only a mere 8-minute walk.
From Amsterdam Central Station:
- Metro 51, stop Nieuwmarkt (5-minute walk to the church).
- Metro 53, stop Nieuwmarkt (5-minute walk to the church).
- Metro 54, stop Nieuwmarkt (5-minute walk to the church).
From Amsterdam Leidseplein:
Tram 1 or 2, heading to Central Station, stop Dam Square (8-minute walk to the church).
With the widget below you can find accurate advice for the real-time travel times based on your current location. This application will help you when you are not sure which bus or tram you can take from your location.
De Oude Kerk FAQ
Can I visit the Oude Kerk in a wheelchair?
Yes, the Oude Kerk is accessible to people in wheelchairs or crutches.
Is there usually a queue at the Oude Kerk?
No, there isn’t. Although during the high season, there could be a short queue.
Can I pay with cash?
No, cash payments are not allowed. Visitors can only pay by card.
Are pets allowed in the church?
No, pets aren’t allowed in the church.
Is the Oude Kerk suitable for children?
Yes, it is suitable for children of all ages.
Does the Oude Kerk offer discounts for groups?
Yes, but only for groups with less than 15 persons and they pay € 8.
Reviews of the Oude Kerk
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