The majesty of the Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, is such that it threatens to overshadow the stately Royal Palace on the Dam (especially when the latter is in scaffolds). Located next door to the royal family's Amsterdam address, the peculiarly named "New Church" was indeed at one point new -- back in 1408, when it was constructed to serve the overpopulation of parishioners to the Oude Kerk (Old Church), its counterpart on the other side of the Dam.
Since then the church has fallen victim, in part or in whole, to several majors fires, but its Renaissance architecture has remained pristinely intact since a two-decade restoration process that concluded in 1980. The church doesn't hold services anymore, but is used for royal ceremonies (Prins Willem Alexander married here in a papparazzi-studded event in 2002), and -- most critically for visitors -- doubles as a renowned exhibition space.
What's to See at the Nieuwe Kerk?:
Next to its resplendent interior architecture, visitors to the Nieuwe Kerk routinely turn out for its wonderful exhibitions. Exhibition themes vary, but in the recent past have focused on world cultures: one favorite exhibit has been the Buddhist art of ancient Bactria, in the present-day Middle East, with its unique hybridity of Greek and Asian artistic conventions; pieces were borrowed from the star-crossed museum in Kabul especially for the exhibit.
One constant in the Nieuwe Kerk's temporary exhibits is their superior quality; the exhibition space is modest, but the exhibits themselves are marvelously well curated, and the backdrop of the church's arched nave only enhances the splendor of the visual experience. In short, the Nieuwe Kerk offers the unbeatable pair of timely exhibits within a time-honored space.
Nieuwe Kerk Visitor Information:
Nieuwe Kerk Location
- Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The church closes periodically in preparation for new exhibits; check the Nieuwe Kerk web site for the current exhibition schedule.
- Adults: € 15.00
- Children 15 and under: Free
Fees may vary by exhibit.
- By foot - Five minutes' walk from Amsterdam Central Station; just head south on the Dam.
- By tram - Line 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 16, 24 and 25 to "Dam".
Call +31 (0)20 638 6909 or visit the Nieuwe Kerk website.