Westerkerk Church is one of the most famous landmarks of the Netherlands that draws thousands of tourists each year. This 17th-century Protestant church is renowned for its stunning architecture and iconic tower. It is the largest church in the Netherlands that was built in Renaissance style that lies in the western part of the Grachtengordel neighborhood between the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. The church was the burial ground of the famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn and was used for hosting the wedding of former-queen Beatrix.
The highlights of the church include an imposing eighty-five-meter-high tower, a carillon with fifty bells, and an impressive organ. You can climb the one hundred and eighty steps of the Westerkerk Tower up a spiral staircase and enjoy a splendid view of Amsterdam from its balcony. Attend the classical music concerts that are held throughout the year and appreciate the excellent acoustics of the church. You can also take a guided tour of the church between April to October to understand how it has played an important role in shaping the identity of the Netherlands. Express your thankfulness to God by attending the Sunday morning services that are held in the church every week.
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Westerkerk Church is one of the finest examples of the Dutch Renaissance style. The breathtaking architecture of the church is credited to architect Hendrick de Keyser's fascination with the Renaissance style. Hendrick de Keyser erected this church in the traditional patriarchal cross shape. It has a rectangular shape and is characterized by large windows, grey-white painted ornaments, and two high-side aisle bays. The bell tower of the church has an eighty-five meters high spire overlooking the city.
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Westertoren is Amsterdam's highest church tower standing eighty-five meters tall. The top half of the tower has been constructed from wood and covered by lead and sandstone. It was completed in 1638 and is topped by Maximilian I's imperial crown. From April to October, you can climb up the tower, and as you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Amsterdam and the De Jordaan District. You can only reach the top of the tower by climbing up a spiral staircase and steep ladder-like steps.
The Westertoren is topped by the imperial crown of Maximilian of Austria, which he gave to the city as a gratitude for the support given to the Austro-Burgundian princes during the war. The crown was originally blue in color, but on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Rembrandt's birth in the year 1906, it was painted yellow. The crown regained its original blue color during the recent renovations in April 2006.
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Westerkerk Church features a large organ that rises above the entrance of the Westerkerk. There was no organ when the church was opened for the first time in 1631, but in 1681, builder Roelof Barentszn was commissioned to build an organ. The organ has beautiful panels painted by Gerard de Lairesse, and it represents scenes from The Bible. It was first played during Christmas in 1686 by Jurriaan Bouff during a church service. The organ has been named after its builder Roelof Barentszn, and it produces overwhelming music.
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In 1578, Amsterdam joined the Prince of Orange movement to outcast the Roman Catholic regents resulting in the 'Alteration' of seven Roman Catholic churches. The Alteration led to a sudden increase in the population in just one century. The government established a suburb called the "Jordaan" to accommodate the growing number of workers. The Noorderkerk was built for people living in the Jordaan, and the Westerkerk was built at the end of the Prinsengracht for the "ring of canals" area, which constituted wealthy people. Westerkerk Church is an architectural masterpiece built by architect Hendrick de Keyser between 1620 and 1631.
It was commissioned by the City Council of Amsterdam, and during the initial days, it served as a church for the wealthy. A churchyard was built on the Westermarkt, and the entrance to the church was through a beautiful gate, which doesn't exist any longer. Until 1865, the church also served as a burial ground, and you can still find tombstones inside the Westerkerk.
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What is special about Westerkerk Church?
Westerkerk is the largest and the most impressive church in the Netherlands. It is adorned with the imperial crown of Maximilian of Austria, and its tower is the tallest structure in the city. You can climb the tower via guided tours and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.
When can we visit Westerkerk Church?
Westerkerk Tower can be visited at all times during the year, however it will be best if you plan your visit during the summer month of the Netherlands. The tower and the church are closed to visitors on Sundays, so make sure to come here on weekdays only.
How to reach Westerkerk?
By TramTake tram lines 17 or 13 from the Amsterdam Central Station and get down at the Anne Frank House stop. From the Anne Frank House stop, you'll have to walk for around 10 minutes to reach Westerkerk Amsterdam.
By CarWesterkerk Amsterdam is easily accessible by car from all parts of the city. Once you reach Westerkerk, park your car at the designated parking area.
Who is buried in Westerkerk?
Dutch painter and printmaker Rembrandt van Rijn was buried on October 8, 1669, somewhere under a tombstone in Westerkerk Amsterdam.
What does Westerkerk mean?
The Westerkerk is a Reformed church in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It lies between the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht in the western part of the Grachtengordel neighborhood.