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Climb Amsterdam's Church Towers for Bird's-Eye Views

See Amsterdam from atop the Westerkerk and Zuiderkerk

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In a city as flat as Amsterdam, it's tough to get a bird's-eye view of the skyline. Climb these church towers to see what the city looks like from above.

Amsterdam's Tallest Church Tower

The Westerkerk's tower dominates the skyline in Amsterdam
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Dominating the skyline of the Western Canal Belt, the tower of the Westerkerk ("west church") was completed in 1638 and is the tallest in Amsterdam at 272 feet (85 meters). Its most recognizable feature is the colorful replica of the imperial crown of Maximilian of Austria, who gifted it to Amsterdam in thanks for the city's support.

See a photo of the entire Westerkerk in my visual guide to Amsterdam's Top Historic Churches.

Details on Climbing the Westerkerk Tower

View of the Prinsengracht and the Jordaan neighborhood from atop Amsterdam's Westerkerk tower
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Where: Prinsengracht 281 (close to the Anne Frank House in the Western Canal Belt)
When: Tower open Monday through Friday, April to September; tours leave every 30 minutes beginning at 10 a.m. Last tour at 5:30 p.m.
Cost: € 6
Tip: Only six people may climb the tower at one time; stop by in the morning to reserve a time slot.

The Church Tower that Monet Made Famous

The Zuiderkerk tower sits at the end of the Groenburgwal canal in Amsterdam
Photo © 2009 Shannon McAllister, licensed to About.com
Claude Monet took inspiration from the picturesque placement of the Zuiderkerk's tower, which watches over the idyllic Groenburgwal canal (one of my favorite small canals in the city) in perfect alignment. The tower of the "south church" was completed in 1614 and features an onion-like dome and a whiter color than the tower of the nearby Oude Kerk, which looks somewhat similar.

See another photo of the Zuiderkerk tower in my visual guide to Amsterdam's Top Historic Churches. See another bird's-eye view from atop the Zuiderkerk's tower in my Walking Tour of Peaceful Places in the Southern Historic Centrum.

Details on Climbing the Zuiderkerk Tower

The view from atop Amsterdam's Zuiderkerk tower stretches all the way to Dam Square
Photo © 2009 Shannon McAllister, licensed to About.com
Where: Zuiderkerkhof 72 (in the Southern Old Centrum area; reach the tower entrance via Zandstraat)
When: Tower open Monday through Saturday, April to September; tours leave every 30 minutes beginning at 12 p.m. Last tour at 3:30 p.m.
Cost: € 6
Tip: Only 15 people may climb the tower at one time; call +31 (0)20 689 25 65 to reserve a time for groups.
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