De Oosterkerk

Kleine Wittenburgerstraat 1
Oostelijke Eilanden/Kadijken
A. Dortsman & D. Stalpaert
Hervormde Gemeente

Seventeenth-century church in sober style

Oosterkerk was built in the late seventeenth century and was one of the city’s four large churches. The building is in a sober style and catches the eye with its robust high walls. Because it had fallen into disrepair, in 1963 it became redundant and was under threat of demolition. It was saved, however, following protests by local residents. Various welfare organizations moved into the building, but it has recently fallen vacant once again.

Redundant churches are a problem throughout the Netherlands, with two to three becoming redundant each week. Finding a new use for a church building is, however, a complicated exercise, mainly because churches have a special value for many people. The form of most churches also presents practical problems: what type of new use fits in with the building’s original character and its form?
The platform Nieuw Leven voor Oude Gebouwen (new life for old buildings) is inviting the public to submit suggestions for a new use for Oosterkerk. Suggestions so far include a grand café, a mosque, a community centre, housing and an annex to the Maritime Museum. (ARCAM/ CL)