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 (15 months ago)
Beautiful place to meditation... With very people but quit.
A Google User (15 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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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The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.

The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.

The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.

In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.