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

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

A Google User (5 months ago)
One of the interesting things you can see at Begijnhof is the English Reformed Church (Engelse Kerk) located across from the Begijnhof Chapel. Church service schedule can be found on the church website, for those interested in attending an English language service. I'm not sure if the church is normally open for general visitation, like the Catholic chapel on the other side of the courtyard. It has been closed each time we have passed by during visits to Begijnhof. Engelse Kerk is an interesting building to see from the outside. The church dates back to the late 14th century, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city. The single red brick tower is a nice window to the church's medieval past. Have a look inside if you find the church open. Otherwise, enjoy seeing the exterior architecture before or after visiting the chapel and other things to see at Begijnhof.
A Google User (5 months ago)
Vibrant and welcoming congregation
A Google User (5 months ago)
Lovely wee church in stunning setting. Beautiful music venue.
A Google User (6 months ago)
The music is beautiful, intimate yet inviting community. The message is rather short but deep and faithful to the Gospel. The audience is multicultural. During Eucharist you can chose between having your own personal plastic cup or sharing it with your fellow churchgoers by choosing between sitting on the left or right.
A Google User (2 years ago)
Actually quite an old English speaking church - something like four hundred years. Very welcoming and faithful teaching. Definitely worth checking out.
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