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Oosterkerk: A 17th Century Dutch Reformed Church

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Oosterkerk Amsterdam

The Oosterkerk is a Dutch Reformed church in Amsterdam. The church dates all the way back to the 17th century. The original structure was located in Rapenburn and was constructed with wood. Today, the church is used for cultural activities and is also rented for concerts, exhibitions and conferences.

Oosterkerk History

Oosterkerk Amsterdam 2Oosterkerk was built between 1669 and 1671. The church’s new location in Wittenburg also allowed residents of Kadijken to take the ferry and attend services. Architects Adriaan Dortsman and Daniel Stalpaert collaborated on the project. Daniel was likely the one who designed the church, while Adriaan designed the details. Daniel also designed the Oudshoorn and Graveland churches in a similar style, now known as Dutch Classicism.

The church is designed in the shape of the Greek cross. Where the high hipped roofs intersect, there is a wooden cupola that houses a bell and a clock. The bell is still rung every half hour, and the clock features a special inscription, which translates to:

With my success, I divide the clock time into equal pieces; Pieter Hemony made me in Amsterdam in the year of our Lord 1671.

Inside, a Van Oeckelen organ from 1871 can be found.

During World War II, the reverend of Oosterkerk prayed for two Christian school members who were arrested in Arnhem. After the service, the reverend was arrested and sent to Camp Amersfoort. Only he and three others survived the war.

In 1963, the church was closed due to disrepair. Six years later, the church fell into the hands of the city of Amsterdam. Plans were made to demolish the building to make room for an urban renewal project, but local residents wanted to save the church. The city ultimately wound up restoring the church.

The church has been used for cultural activities and civic matters since 1985.

Visiting the Church

Oosterkerk is not open to the public. However, several concerts and exhibitions are held throughout the month, which gives tourists the opportunity to see the interior of the church. In fact, a coffee concert is held every third Sunday of the month. Students from the Conservatory of Amsterdam in Oosterkerk sing and play every first Tuesday of the month and every third Friday of the month. A complete listing of the monthly concerts and events can be found on the Oosterkerk website. Admission is free, but the church accepts donations.

Oosterkerk can also be rented for exhibitions, concerts and business conferences. Up to 150 people can be accommodated for an event.


Also check out our travel guide: Amsterdam Netherlands