The Zuiderkerk ('southern church') was the city's first church built specifically for Protestant services. It was constructed between 1603 and 1611. The distinctive church tower, which dominates the surrounding area, was not completed until 1614 and contains a carillon of bells built by the brothers Hemony, installed in 1656.

The Zuiderkerk was used for church services until 1929. During the final (1944-1945) winter of World War II it was in use as a temporary morgue because people were dying faster than they could be buried. The church was closed in 1970 because it was at the point of collapse. In the years 1976-1979, the church underwent renovation, and since 1988 it serves as a municipal information centre. The tower has a separate entrance and is also open to the public.

The design of the church in Amsterdam Renaissance style is by Hendrick de Keyser, who was also buried in the church in 1621. A memorial stone was placed on top of his tomb in 1921. De Keyser designed the church as a pseudo-basilica in Gothic style, with a central nave and two lower side aisles, six bays long, with Tuscan columns, timber barrel vaults and dormers. The stained glass in the rectangular windows was replaced by transparent glass in the 17th century. The richly detailed tower is a square stone substructure, on which an octagonal sandstone section stands with free-standing columns on the corners. On top of this is a wooden, lead-covered spire.

French Impressionist painter Claude Monet painted the church during a visit to the Netherlands. The painting now hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Three of Rembrandt's children were buried in the Zuiderkerk, which is very near to Rembrandt's house in the Jodenbreestraat. Ferdinand Bol, one of Rembrandt's most famous pupils, was buried in the Zuiderkerk in 1680.

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Founded: 1603-1611
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

A Google User (2 years ago)
Interesting history, but not the most beautiful church in the old town.
A Google User (3 years ago)
Nice building and courtyard, great Sunday church service vineyard
A Google User (3 years ago)
Very beautifull church, went to a very nice concert of the VU-koor here
A Google User (3 years ago)
Needs some air conditioning for warm weather. Otherwise nice venue.
A Google User (3 years ago)
Beautiful church in the centre of Amsterdam around 15 minutes walking from Amsterdam Central station. A nice place to be used for an event such as a concert. I went there this evening to attend Mirabai Ceiba in concert. It was beautiful and magic.
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