De Oude Kerk (Old Church)
Amsterdam's oldest parish church from around 1300
The building of the Oude Kerk began around 1300, when Amsterdam was a small town on the river Amstel. The two organs during Sweelinck's tenure as organist (1577-1621) were built in 1539 and 1545 by Hendrik Niehoff. The bones of this great composer are still in the Oude Kerk, buried under stone floor 100 or 101.
Oude Kerk, view from Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Photo: Aleks Varnica
Even during Sweelinck's time, the area around the Oude Kerk had been Amsterdam's "Red Light" district. The church, now mainly used as a museum, has a warm, inviting feeling, despite of its size.
The small organ was replaced in 1658, after Sweelinck's death, by Hans Wolf Schonat (the builder of the main organ in the Nieuwe Kerk).
Rembrandt was a frequent visitor of the Oude Kerk and his children were all christened here. It is the only building in Amsterdam that remained in its original state since Rembrandt walked its halls. In the Holy Sepulchre is a small Rembrandt exhibition, a shrine to his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh who was buried here in 1642.
Pay also a visit to the picturesque 'de Koffieschenkerij' ('Coffee Parlor'), the former sacristy, for a coffee, cake or lunch
Oude KerkOudekerksplein 23
Amsterdam (Old Centre)