Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam

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The Nieuwe Kerk literally means ‘new church’, but is not very new at all. This church is no less than 600 years old. In spite of its age and everything it had to go through in the past centuries the church still stands proudly. It is located right next to the Royal Palace on Dam Square.

The Nieuwe Kerk was built in the 15th century. To be exact: on 15 November 1408 the bishop of Utrecht gave his approval for the construction of a second parish church. The first parish church, the Oude Kerk, is situated on Oudekerksplein Square. Since this church had been built, Amsterdam’s population had increased quite a lot. The ever-increasing wealth made it possible to build a new church.

Fire at the Nieuwe Kerk

Fate was not kind to the church. In 1421 a large part of the city of Amsterdam burnt down. The Nieuwe Kerk also fell victim to this fire. Reconstruction work was carried out until another fire in 1452 did quite a lot of damage. However, it is not like the people of Amsterdam to lose heart. The final result is a beautifully ornamented church which does the city proud.

The bell tower

It is quite amazing that the iconoclastic fury of 1566 did not affect the church. However, in 1578 the Presbyterians claimed the building. They were averse to frills and did away with the statues and altars which had decorated the church for so long. The church survived another fire in 1645. Unfortunately, the building of the new City Hall next to the Royal Palace overshadowed reconstruction. As a result, the church did not get a bell tower. The Nieuwe Kerk had to make do with three small clocks which were mounted in the tower, on the spot where the roofs cross.


 

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