Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Amsterdam's famous churches: Our Lord in the Attic, New Church, Old Church

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [in Netherlands] Blog]

I decided visiting the most famous Amsterdam churches. Indeed, just like any ordinary tourist.

Day 1: 20th of June: cloudy, dark, windy, chilly, just a little-tiny-bit of sun. Therefore, the usual.
Day 2: 22nd of June: sunny, quite hot. After my windows got painted on the outside, the smell of the fresh paint kicked me out of the room, so I continued my Amsterdam's-famous-churches visit.



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Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (en: Our Lord in the Attic)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
There are lockers at the entrance, of course.
Pictures are allowed, but, as always, no flash - make sure your memory card is empty, because you shall need all the space.


My opinion on Our Lord in the Attic
(Day 1)

Did you know this has been a museum since 1888? They say it's the oldest museum in Amsterdam, along with Rijskuseum.

The huge flier you receive once you buy the ticket offers all the information you need for a thorough visit of the whole house. There's a lot of information in it, which you'll enjoy reading while exploring the house.

Hey, there really is a church in the attic! The Catholics were quite innovative in avoiding the Protestant rulership :) Indeed, as they say in the description, the Protestants weren't that bad since they allowed this Catholic church as long as it wasn't obvious, i.e. they prevented the Catholic from openly practicing their religion.

It's pretty cool.
It's very old, many items are the original old ones.
Although the church is under restoration for the moment, you can see it and get a good idea on how it looked like etc. Besides, the museum staff will also happily tell you how the restoration is being done and so on.

Of course, all the other rooms in the house are to be visited, which makes it a complete and interesting experience.

I enjoyed it a lot.



De Nieuwe Kerk (en: The New Church)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list (it's in Dutch because that's where all details are).
There aren't lockers at the entrance, since you don't need them anyway.
Pictures are allowed, but, as always, no flash - make sure your memory card is empty, 'cause you shall want to make as many pictures as possible from all the angles you can think of.


My opinion on The New Church
(Day 1 + 2)

Wow, it's... big!!!
It does not seem so big from the outside, but once you get inside you understand how big it is!
It's huge, I tell you!

Definitely an impressive piece of architecture!

You shall discover some cool exhibits inside, each with its own explanation written besides it. The flier you receive once you buy the ticket contains a map of the church, having marked the places of all these exhibits, so there's no excuse for missing one! :)

Inside, there are buried Jan van Galen and Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter :)) It's so funny, because I know who these guys were :D because 2 streets in the Bos en Lommer neighborhood (which is roughly where I live) hold their names - check out the long green lines on the map below:


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De Oude Kerk (en: The Old Church)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list (Entrance Fee section).
There aren't lockers at the entrance, since you don't need them anyway.
Pictures are allowed, of course - make sure your memory card is empty, 'cause you shall need all the space.


My opinion on The Old Church
(Day 2)

There was a huge queue outside in Day 1, so I decided to come back some other time and use the rest of that day for visiting [in part] The New Church.

Old means small? Ha, ha! Well, no.
The Old Church is almost as big as The New Church.

It is under an intensive restoration program now, but it can be very well visited.

After buying the ticket you shall receive 2 A4 format fliers (which you shall need to return when you leave): one contains the map of the church with ?ab? numbered exhibits and the other contains the description of each exhibit - the exhibits on the map also are color coded with respect to their type.
Check out the red ones, i.e. the paintings you see up on the wooden ceiling! Pretty cool!


The [former] graves under the Old & New Churches

The cool thing about both the Old & New Churches is that most of the floor is made of tombstones - yes, there used to be graves under it: in a grave up to 5 coffins could be stacked one on top of the other :) Pretty cool - only rich people were buried in the church, of course, since it was expensive.

Of course, all the coffins have been removed some long time ago (it said when but I forgot), because they affected the structure of these 2 churches. Also, since 1820s, a law came into effect to forbid such practices, but it started being applied in Amsterdam in 1870s or something...

In both these churches there's an inscription somewhere claiming that during time about 10 K people have been buried under each of them! Wow!



Conclusions

Our Lord in the Attic: I enjoyed a lot visiting both the church in the attic (which is under restoration for the moment) and the rest of the house. I recommend it.

The Old Church & The New Church: cool; really big & impressive churches; definitely worth to visit! Also, they are one of those must see monuments for any tourist in Amsterdam.
I recommend you visit both churches during the week, in order to find them rather empty, since during the week-end they get rather crowded with tourists.

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