Oude Kerk ( Old Church) Amsterdam
On our last day in Amsterdam we wanted to visit the oldest church in Amsterdam . It was located in an area that you would not expect to find a church. Well , life just grew up around it and it’s right in the middle of the Red Light District.
This church was established in 1306 in the heart of the medieval center of Amsterdam . It was, at that time a richly decorated Catholic church.
When Amsterdam was at war with Spain, there was a change from Papist to Puritan in 1578.
The Oude Kerk became a Protestant church. With this change, the church became quite austere because all the Catholic artifacts were removed leaving a bare empty looking church.
Just a few facts about this church:
The Old Church has the largest roofscape in all of Europe .
The floor of gravestones, undulates.
Rembrandt’s wife Saskia is buried here.
The church is actually a covered graveyard with 2,500 graves at this time. There have been over 12,000 people buried there, inside the church
It used to smell of dead people inside the church. There was the use of incense to help take away the smell. Eventually, all the graves had to be excavated and filled with white sand.
This church gets around 150,000 visitors a year .
In 1951 the church closed because it was about to collapse. A huge renovation took place.
There were at one time. 39 alters.
This church was built in the an area that was once a swamp. So the church was said to be have a foundation of wooden poles on cowhides. It is said that this church floats like a ship on that peaty soil.
All the wood seen in this church are oak which was thought to come from Germany by ship.
It was a magnificent church indeed. It was lacking in the many Catholic artifacts but there was a beauty in its austerity.