English Reformed Church

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The English Reformed Church is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. It is home to an English-speaking congregation which is affiliated to the Church of Scotland and to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. The Begijnhof, an enclosed courtyard, was a 14th-century residence for the sisterhood of the Catholic Beguines, and the church was originally established as their chapel. It was confiscated from the Catholic lay sisterhood during the Reformation. For this reason, the church is invisible from the street and can only be discovered by entering the courtyard through an inconspicuous archway.

As with other city churches, the keys of the chapel were surrendered to the Municipality when Amsterdam sided officially with the Prince of Orange and formally adopted Calvinist doctrines in 1578. The church, controlled by the Beguines, was taken by the city council and closed. In 1607, the church was re-opened for worship when the Municipality presented it to the English-speaking Protestants living in the city. Since then, services in English have continued practically without interruption to the present day.

Since the late 1970s, the church has provided Amsterdam with an important platform for the performance of chamber music of all periods and styles with over 70 concerts a year. In particular, it has given many young artists the opportunity to launch their careers. The Academy of the Begijnhof, founded by a former church organist, is now one of Amsterdam's premier baroque orchestras.

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Founded: 14th century
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

aniruddha paul (11 months ago)
A protestant church inside a catholic enclave that's inside a protestant city.....history is fascinating. Plus, it's a beautiful setting in the middle of the historic quarter
Pitta Hutabarat (12 months ago)
I love this church, we had our Christmas service here on last Christmas 2019, beautiful little church located inside a house cluster behind Damrak
SounderFall541 (12 months ago)
Very nice church in a quiet neighborhood (with residents, so you have to be quiet outside), and it's nice that it's hidden from the streets. It offers a nice experience to step away from the noise of the city for a spiritual experience.
Ma-India Ma-india (13 months ago)
Need to sing hymns? This is the place to be. Great atmosferics
Eileen Weed (2 years ago)
Sweet and simple little hidden Catholic Church in the Begijnhof, with a small entrance. Don't miss the bench on the right side, which might have been used by the Mayflower pilgrims, and also take a look at the old Bible in front of the alter. I visited as part of Rick Steves free "Amsterdam City Walk" audio tour - do a search online to download it!
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