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Nieuwe Kerk (Amsterdam)

Nieuwe Kerk (Amsterdam)

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The Nieuwe Kerk is a 15th-century church in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, located on Dam Square
Dam Square
Dam Square, or simply the Dam is a town square in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Its notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city.- Location and description :...

, next to the Royal Palace
Royal Palace (Amsterdam)
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which is at the disposal of Queen Beatrix by Act of Parliament. The palace was built as city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the seventeenth century. The building became the royal palace of king Louis Napoleon and later...



The bishop of Utrecht gave the city of Amsterdam permission to use a second the parish church in 1408 because the Oude Kerk
Oude Kerk (Amsterdam)
The Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest parish church, consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.The bust of famous organist and composer...

 ("Old Church") had grown too small for the growing population of the city. The Nieuwe Kerk was consecrated to St. Mary and St. Catharine.

The church was damaged by the city fires of 1421 and 1452 and burned down almost entirely in 1645, after which it was rebuilt in Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 style. It underwent major renovation in 1892–1914, which added many neo-Gothic details, and was again renovated in 1959–1980. It was the renovation in the 70's that became too expensive for the Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church was a Reformed Christian denomination in the Netherlands. It existed from the 1570s to 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the...

, and when they said the church would be closed most of the time to save money on maintenance, it was decided to transfer ownership in 1979 to a newly formed cultural organization called the Nationale Stichting De Nieuwe Kerk.

The Nieuwe Kerk is a burial site for Dutch naval heroes, including Admiral Michiel de Ruyter
Michiel de Ruyter
Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter is the most famous and one of the most skilled admirals in Dutch history. De Ruyter is most famous for his role in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. He fought the English and French and scored several major victories against them, the best known probably...

, Commodore Jan van Galen and Jan van Speyk
Jan van Speyk
Jan Carolus Josephus van Speijk, also written Van Speyk, was a Dutch naval lieutenant who became a hero to the Dutch people for his efforts in suppressing the Belgian Revolution.-Early life:...

. The poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel
Joost van den Vondel
Joost van den Vondel was a Dutch writer and playwright. He is considered the most prominent Dutch poet and playwright of the 17th century. His plays are the ones from that period that are still most frequently performed, and his epic Joannes de Boetgezant , on the life of John the Baptist, has...

 is also buried in the church.

Current uses

Today, the church is no longer used for services but is now a popular exhibition space, giving it a museum function managed by the Nationale Stichting De Nieuwe Kerk. There is a café in one of the buildings attached to the church that has an entrance to the church (during opening hours). There is a museum store inside the entrance that sells postcards, books, and gifts having to do with the church and its exhibitions.

The church is still used for organ recitals and each year the National May 4th Dodenherdenking memorial service (Remembrance of the Dead
Remembrance of the Dead
Remembrance of the Dead is held annually on May 4 in the Netherlands. It commemorates all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II....

) is held there and at the monument on the Dam square outside. The church is also still in use by the royal family for inauguration
An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a leader's term of office. An example is the ceremony in which the President of the United States officially takes the oath of office....

s, most recently the coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 of Queen Beatrix
Beatrix of the Netherlands
Beatrix is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprising the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba. She is the first daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She studied law at Leiden University...

 in 1980, and weddings, most recently the wedding of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange
Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange
Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange is the eldest child of Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus. Since 1980 he is the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He is also the head of the House of Amsberg since the death of his father in 2002. He was in military service and he studied...

, to princess Máxima
Princess Máxima of the Netherlands
Princess Máxima of the Netherlands is the wife of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, heir apparent to the throne of the Netherlands.-Early life and education:...

 in 2002. The coronations of Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina was Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948. She ruled the Netherlands for fifty-eight years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw World War I and World War II, the economic crisis of 1933, and the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial...

 and Juliana of the Netherlands
Juliana of the Netherlands
Juliana was the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1948 and 1980. She was the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry...

also took place there.

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