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Museum Amstelkrin

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38-40, 1012 GD Amsterdam, Netherlands

Opening Hours

1:00 PM - 6:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Tiger
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the Museum Amstelkring, also known as 'Our Lord in the Attic,' on a weekday morning to avoid crowds; it's a hidden gem often missed by typical tourists. Additionally, inquire about the special guided tours that might include areas typically closed to the public – local lore says they can be the highlight of the visit."

What is Museum Amstelkring?

Museum Amstelkring, also known as Our Lord in the Attic or Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder, is one of Amsterdam's most intriguing and cherished museums. Tucked away in the heart of the city's historic district, the museum is a beautifully preserved 17th-century canal house. It houses a clandestine Catholic church within its attic, a testament to a time when Catholic worship was prohibited in Amsterdam.

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As we walk through its narrow passageways and steep staircases, we're stepping back into a slice of history that's hidden in plain sight. Behind its unassuming facade, the museum offers a rare glimpse into the domestic life of the Dutch Golden Age combined with religious tolerance, secrecy, and sheer architectural ingenuity.

Visitors are often surprised by the contrast between the opulent church upstairs and the residential quarters below. This hidden church is not just a relic; it paints a vivid picture of the religious history of Amsterdam—a city known for its spirit of tolerance and pragmatic approaches to regulation and law enforcement.

History of Museum Amstelkring

The Museum Amstelkring's origin story begins in the mid-17th century, during a time when public Catholic worship was officially outlawed in the Netherlands. In response to these religious restrictions, clandestine churches began to appear privately within citizens' homes, and the Amstelkring is one of the few remaining examples today.

Built in 1663 by a wealthy Catholic merchant, Jan Hartman, this hidden church spans three floors of his residence and served as a safe place for Catholics to attend mass. The church was in active use from its inception until 1887, when it became redundant after the legalization of Catholicism and the construction of a new church nearby.

Following its retirement as a church, it was preserved and converted into a museum in 1888, making it one of the oldest museums in Amsterdam. Over the years, the museum has undergone several restorations to maintain its historical integrity and to continue to tell the story of religious freedom and resilience.

Why is Museum Amstelkring Important?

The significance of Museum Amstelkring lies not only in its unique status as a hidden church but also in its silent testimony to religious tolerance. Even when the practising of Catholicism was not permitted in public, this church represents how Amsterdam's citizens found a way to preserve their beliefs and practices.

It's an emblem of Amsterdam's social history, reflecting the city's liberal attitude and its citizens' determination to retain their cultural identity. This hidden church is a narrative of subterfuge and religious devotion, an example of the power of community to uphold its values against the odds.

Moreover, the museum exhibits an extensive collection of religious artifacts, paintings, and silverware that belonged to the church, providing insight into the art and cultural practices associated with Catholic worship of the period. By exploring this church and museum, one also enriches their understanding of Amsterdam's architectural and societal evolution through the centuries.

Things to Do & See at Museum Amstelkring

Museum Amstelkring is a treasure trove for history buffs and art lovers alike. The first thing most visitors do is marvel at the attic church itself. The intricate altarpieces, the wooden pews, the baroque-style gilt works, and the paintings evoke a sacred atmosphere that's almost entirely unexpected from the outside.

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Aside from viewing the church, you can explore the living quarters of the original 17th-century house. These rooms are filled with period furniture, art, and household objects that tell the story of life during Amsterdam's Golden Age. Some are even set up to represent scenes from daily life, giving you a sense of how the merchant and his family would have lived.

Additionally, there are often temporary exhibitions on display, often related to religious history or linked to Catholicism and its place in Amsterdam's past. The museum also hosts various educational programs and concerts, providing a dynamic experience beyond the historical objects.

If you're lucky, you might just stumble upon a guided tour, which I highly recommend. Tailored tours can reveal those hidden stories and quirks about the museum that you might not come across on your own, like the ingenuity behind the church's soundproofing or the secret passageways used by the clergy. It's these little-known facts that breathe life into the history and make your visit to Museum Amstelkring genuinely unforgettable.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Museum Amstelkring?

Museum Amstelkring, also known as Our Lord in the Attic, is a 17th-century canal house museum in Amsterdam with a fully preserved clandestine church in its attic, reflecting the time when Catholic worship was prohibited.

Where is the Museum Amstelkring located?

The Museum Amstelkring is located on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam, within the city's old center.

What exhibits can I see at the Museum Amstelkring?

Visitors to the Museum Amstelkring can see the original church in the attic, historical rooms with 17th-century furnishings, artwork, religious artifacts, and an insight into the religious history of Amsterdam.

Are there guided tours available at the Museum Amstelkring?

Yes, the Museum Amstelkring offers guided tours that provide detailed explanations about the history of the house, the attic church, and the exhibits on display.

What are the opening hours and ticket prices for Museum Amstelkring?

The Museum Amstelkring has varying opening hours and ticket prices throughout the year. Visitors are encouraged to check the museum's official website for the most up-to-date information before planning their visit.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38-40, 1012 GD Amsterdam, Netherlands

Opening Hours

1:00 PM - 6:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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