A chapel has stood on the foundations of the Oude Kerk for more than 800 years, and this monumental church is recognised by historians as the oldest building in Amsterdam. Although today it is mainly used as a cultural center, the church has a fascinating past that coincides with several important events from Amsterdam’s history.
In the early 13th century, a small Catholic parish built a wooden chapel on the banks of the river Amstel. This site quickly became the main place of worship in Amsterdam and was eventually consecrated by the Bishop of Utrecht in 1306. A century later its timber walls were reinforced with stone and the church was significantly expanded in order to accommodate Amsterdam’s growing population.
After another church was constructed on Dam in 1408, this older building was given the title Oude Kerk (Old Church) – a name that reflected its already impressive history. Over the next 200 years Oude Kerk was enlarged substantially and given a Romanesque cruciform layout.
When Calvinism hit the Netherlands and the country’s authorities converted to protestantism, many older religious buildings were confiscated from the Catholic faith including the Oude Kerk. In 1566 the church was ransacked by local Calvinists and most of its Catholic iconography was either destroyed or stolen. This iconoclastic attack was meant to expel any hint of Catholicism from the Church and make way for Amsterdam’s new orthodoxy.
The Church was seriously altered after this tumultuous period and became completely Protestant meaning that its interior was given a much more sober appearance. Besides conservation efforts and slight renovations, the Oude Kerk has remained relatively unchanged since then.
Although the Oude Kerk is still owned and operated by the Dutch Protestant church it now welcomes members of every faith, and once a year holds a Catholic procession called ‘the Miracle of Amsterdam’ which honors a miracle that took place during 1345.
📅 Monday to Saturday 10AM-6PM; Sundays 1PM-5.30PM
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.