The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Amsterdam is a 14th century Late Gothic parish church. Located next to the royal palace, the now-Protestant church functions as the national church of the Netherlands, hosting inaugurations and special exhibitions.
History of the Nieuwe Kerk
Begun in the 14th century, the New Church was sponsored by the middle-class merchants of Amsterdam. They tried very hard to outdo the Oude Kerk, which was recognized by the Bishop of Utrecht.
At one point the Oude Kerk boasted a whopping 38 pulpits against the Nieuwe Kerk's 36, but Nieuwe Kerk wins the quality-over-quantity prize for its still-existing pulpit sculpted by Albert Vinckenbrinck, which took him 19 years to complete. Money ran out before the church's spire was completed.
Many of the Nieuwekerk's treasures were removed and its frescoes painted over in 1578 when it became a Protestant church, but some of its original grandeur has since been restored.
What to See at the Nieuwe Kerk
The church boasts a stately arched nave, an elaborately carved altar, a great pipe organ by Jacob van Campen from 1645 that is in regular use for concerts, and several noteworthy stained-glass windows. Look for the carved, gilded ceiling above the choir, which survived a disastrous fire in 1645.
Other notable sights in the Nieuwe Kerk include the unmarked grave of the poet Vondel, the "Dutch Shakespeare," and the elaborate grave of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, a Dutch naval hero who sailed his fleet up the river Medway in England in the 17th century.
The Nieuwe Kerk has been the National Church since 1815, meaning in part that it hosts inauguration ceremonies of Dutch monarchs. The church also hosts organ concerts and excellent temporary exhibitions, which attract a half-million visitors a year and have ranged from Dutch photography to Buddhist treasures.
Quick Facts on the Nieuwe Kerk
|Names:||New Church · Nieuwe Kerk|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||52.373916° N, 4.891748° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near the Nieuwe Kerk|
- Personal visits (outside only, November 2006 and August 2008).
- Fodor's Amsterdam
- Frommer's Amsterdam
- Photos of the Nieuwe Kerk - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of the Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam
Below is a location map and aerial view of the Nieuwe Kerk. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.