The first church
The remains of the settlement of the first people of Sloter have been discovered in a corner of the area De Vrije Geer, on the site of the former Osdorp council offices. Excavations unearthed the foundations and remains of farms and a cemetery with a wooden chapel, the very first Sloterkerk. A document of 1063 mentions ‘Sloton’ as the daughter church of that of Velsen.
In the twelfth century, the people of Sloten left their settlement, which was sinking ever lower, near the turbulent lake Slotermeer and moved to a mound close to today’s Dorpsplein on Sloterweg. Here they built a sturdy stone version of their church, which was, as Bert Stilma quotes in his book about Sloterkerk, ‘much wider and much higher than the present (= third) church that is scarcely half the size of the old one’. In 1573, the church was set alight by the Geuzen and was largely destroyed.
In the seventeenth century, the third version of Sloterkerk was frequently depicted. A drawing by Rembrandt van Rijn, who is said to have lived in the village of Sloten for six years, shows how the church had been rebuilt; making use of the retained inner walls and foundations, but smaller. In 1658, J.A. Beerstraten drew the church in the snow, surrounded by water. An engraving in O. Dappers’ book about Amsterdam of 1663 shows a bridge over the water to the church entrance and walkers walking towards Sloterweg.
Roads and waterways church
During the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the church fell into disrepair. The state department of roads and waterways was responsible for planning a new church, which was designed by the architect P.J. Hamer. The first stone was laid on 27 March 1860 and the church was completed a year later. The pulpit, lecterns and chandeliers from the old church were reused in the new church.
In 1921, Amsterdam incorporated Sloten. From that time on, the ties between the church and the facilities in the encroaching city districts were strengthened. At the end of last century, parts of the church were renewed (the floor, invalid toilet, window frames and ceilings) and in 2003 the tower and the nave were restored. Many people still make good use of this village church and take care of the building.