Basilica of St. Nicholas

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Basilica of St. Nicholas is the major Catholic church in Amsterdam. Officially the church was called St. Nicholas inside the Walls, i.e. the oldest part of the Amsterdam defence works. The architect, Adrianus Bleijs (1842-1912) designed the church basing himself on a combination of several revival styles of which Neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance are the most prominent models.

The facade is crowned by two towers with a rose window in between. The centre of this window is formed by a bas relief depicting Christ and the four Evangelists, made in the Van den Bossche and Crevels workshop in 1886. A sculpture of the patron saint of both the church and the city of Amsterdam was placed in a niche in the upper section of the gable top. The well-known sculptor Bart van Hove (1850-1914) made the sculpture in 1886. The crossing is articulated by a large octagonal tower with a baroque dome and lantern and crowned by a cross. The basis of the groundplan is the scheme of the classic three-aisled cross-basilica, i.e. a nave, two aisles and a single transept. The choir is located as is usual, at the end of the nave. In the corners formed by the transept and the nave, two chapels are located, traditionally devoted to Mary and Joseph.

The basilica has a collection of religious murals. Above the high altar is the crown of Maximilian I, which is a symbol seen throughout Amsterdam. Inside the newly renovated church, a 19th-century Sauer Organ can be found, on which concerts are given and mass is accompanied.

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Details

Founded: 1884-1887
Category: Religious sites in Netherlands

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

A Google User (3 months ago)
Beautiful place to meditation... With very people but quit.
A Google User (3 months ago)
St. Nicholas is a late 19th century basilica situated along Prins Hendrikkade in Central Amsterdam. You can see the building facade from Damrak and Amsterdam Central Station. Opening hours are 11-4pm (Tues-Fri) and 12-3pm (Mon & Sat). On Sundays St. Nicholas is open for mass services. The church was designed by Dutch architect Adrianus Bleijs and is a blend of Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance architecture. It is a nice exterior facade, two towers and rose window that are worth viewing. The interior of St. Nicholas has been rather dimly lit during our visits over the years. The nave pillars are decorate. The altar features an image of the Maximillian I crown and attractive stain-glassed windows can be seen in the apse. There are nice murals lining the walls of the two side aisles that are worth seeing as well. Overall, St. Nicholas is a fairly attractive basilica and a good attraction in Central Amsterdam. Make sure to include visits to nearby De Oude Kerk (pre-reformation Catholic Church) and Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (reformation period secret House Church) if you are interested in Amsterdam's somewhat turbulent religious history in recent centuries.
A Google User (4 months ago)
Unfortunately, I didn't go inside,I just looked at it on the boat. If there was enough time, I would walk into this magnificent cathedral.
A Google User (6 months ago)
Very nice, but nothing extraordinary. Stained glasses on top of altar attracted my eye: they are of very high quality (not up to their French equivalents, but still...).
A Google User (8 months ago)
Majestic cathedral at the heart of Amsterdam, right on the other side of the river in respect to Centraal Station. Worth a visit: all the structure is in Dutch style (notice the boat miniature at the entrance) with wonderful Gothic-style windows all around. Despite being a church, the amount of light entering is deeply amazing.
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After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.