Nieuwe Kerk

Gravenstraat 17
Tram 1-2-4-9-5-13-14-16-17-20-24-25; bus 21
Guus Kemme (red.), Amsterdam architecture - A guide, Amsterdam, 1996.

Late-Gothic basilica

Nieuwe Kerk is now well known throughout the world since the fairy-tale wedding of Prince Willem-Alexander and Maxima Zorreguieta in February 2002. Construction work on the church began at the end of the fourteenth century and it bears the name Nieuwe Kerk (new church) in order to distinguish it from the Oude Kerk (old church), which is situated elsewhere in the city centre. In the course of time, this late-Gothic basilica was extended; the radiating chapels around the choir, for example, are a later addition.

The church caught fire on several occasions; in 1645, for example, the roof was destroyed by fire. The church was restored twice in the twentieth century and neo-Gothic elements were added. The tower, designed by Jacob van Campen, was never finished; on the church’s west side only the base of the tower is visible. The richly decorated Catholic interior disappeared when, in the Alteration of 1578, Amsterdam chose the side of the Protestants; the statues and altarpieces were removed or destroyed and the walls were painted white. The church still contains the tomb of Michiel de Ruyter. Following the investiture of Queen Beatrix in 1980, the church was reopened as an exhibition space. (ARCAM/Mb)