Nieuwe Kerk

The Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church") is a 15th-century church in Amsterdam, located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace.

History

The bishop of Utrecht gave the city of Amsterdam permission to use a second the parish church in 1408 because the Oude Kerk ("Old Church") had grown too small for the growing population of the city. The Nieuwe Kerk was consecrated to St. Mary and St. Catharine.

The church was damaged by the city fires of 1421 and 1452 and burned down almost entirely in 1645, after which it was rebuilt in gothic style. It underwent major renovation in 1892–1914, which added many neo-Gothic details, and was again renovated in 1959–1980. It was the renovation in the 70's that became too expensive for the Dutch Reformed Church, and when they said the church would be closed most of the time to save money on maintenance, it was decided to transfer ownership in 1979 to a newly formed cultural organization called the Nationale Stichting De Nieuwe Kerk.

The Nieuwe Kerk is a burial site for Dutch naval heroes, including Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, Commodore Jan van Galen and Jan van Speyk. The poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel is also buried in the church.

Current uses

Today, the church is no longer used for services but is now a popular exhibition space, giving it a museum function managed by the Nationale Stichting De Nieuwe Kerk. There is a café in one of the buildings attached to the church that has an entrance to the church (during opening hours). There is a museum store inside the entrance that sells postcards, books, and gifts having to do with the church and its exhibitions.

The church is still used for organ recitals and each year the National May 4th Dodenherdenking memorial service (Remembrance of the Dead) is held there and at the monument on the Dam square outside. The church is also still in use by the royal family for inaugurations, most recently the inauguration of Queen Beatrix in 1980, and weddings, most recently the wedding of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, to princess Máxima in 2002.

  • Houses built up against the church

  • Sun dial on West side

  • Old entrance (the former stained glass window was bricked up when the organ was installed)

  • Organ

  • Choir gate

  • Pulpit

  • Detail of pulpit sounding board (from above)

  • Transept organ (Van Hagerbeer 1651/Flentrop 1989)

  • Stained glass window of Willem IV awarding city shield to Amsterdam in 1342

  • Stained glass window

  • Michiel de Ruyter coffin under the monument

  • Panel presentation and discussion in front of Michiel de Ruyter memorial monument.

  • Michiel de Ruyter memorial (detail) by Rombout Verhulst