The Hidden Church


Leidse Plein

Hidden Church (building on the right)

Despite the presence of the “coffee shops” and some seedy premises, Amsterdam’s old town, also called the Red Light District, is lined with historic buildings. One of them, a typical merchant’s canal house built in 1630 contains a surprise. There’s a hidden church up in its loft called “Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder”

After Amsterdam became a Protestant city in the 17th Century, any other worship was forbidden to happen in public.

Catholics had to celebrate their rituals in secret, behind closed doors. In some cases they arranged for the creation of hidden places of worship and this was one of them. It was constructed in the loft of the house owned by a merchant, Jan Hartman, who had moved to Amsterdam from Germany to make his fortune. In fact, it extends over the adjacent two houses. It served as a Parish Church from 1663 until 1887, when the nearby St. Nicolaaskerk was built.

In 2000, the museum got extended with the building at the other side of the street. Princess Maxima, Argentinian and catholic opened the new building which now shelters the museum entrance, a shop, offices and an underground access for the public to the museum.

We stayed in de Pijp. Plenty of restaurants and easy to park. So many houses have multiple front doors. One had six: two on basement level and four on first ground level. And so many bikes. Bikes all over.

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