Oude Kerk (Old Church) (Amsterdam, Holland)

The Old Church (Oude Kerk) in the Red Light District
* http://www.oudekerk.nl/ * Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Oude Kerk is the oldest parish church in Amsterdam. It was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht and is located in the De Wallen, Amsterdam’s main red-light district. The church spans over 3,000 square meters. Its foundation was set upon an artificial mound. Its roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe. The floor is primarily gravestones as the church was built atop a cemetery. The planks are Estonian and date to 1390. The church has gone through numerous renovations through its history. The first set of alterations occured in the 1350’s where the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. During the 15th century, the north and south transepts were added creating a cross formation. This work was completed in 1460. Before the Alteratie or “Reformation” in 1578 the Church was primarily “Catholic”. The Church then became Protestant. The 16th century saw many battles leading to the Church becoming looted and defaced. It became a public space where the locals gossiped, peddlers selling their wares, beggars sought shelter, but in 1681 the Calvinists fed up with the homeless kicked them out. The Church was closed off with a brass screen. Then the Church became a center for the registry of marriages, followed by the city archives. Local citizens continued to be buried underneath the church up until 1865 with a total count of 2500 graves containing over 10,000 Amsterdam citizens. Pipe organs were built in 1658 with the cabinet organ constructed in 1767. The third was built by the German Christian Vater in 1724 establishing the finest baroque organs in Europe. Today, many concerts are performed here including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. This is now a center for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions, and dinner parties.

Apparently parts of the church structure have residents. Some of the bitter residents, who took up housing in a historic monument, get really upset that tourists come and look at the church and monuments in their front yard. They harrassed our tour guide, called the police on him (but he’s in the right since its a public side walk) and took numerous pictures and videos of him presenting in front of their place in the church. What kind of idiot resides in a historic monument and wouldn’t expect tourists … daily? The imbeciles need to move or take a valium.

Kevin trying to ignore the scowling old lady (not in the picture, for some reason it didn’t develope)
and presenting a fabulous history of the area and monuments

Pictured above, behind Kevin, is the Bronze statue of “Belle” in front of the Oude Kerk. The Inscriptions states: “Respect sex workers all over the world.” [for some reason the photo I took of her did not take either ]

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