Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Our Lady In The Attic, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

One of the most unusual churches in Europe, Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (or Our Lord in the Attic) is a Catholic church which dates to the period when Catholics were not allowed to worship openly in the Netherlands.

The house, 40 Oudezijds Voorburgwal, at the top end of the Red Light District was built around 1630. Between 1661 and 1663 the top three floors were changed into a church. Essentially the middle floors were removed and galleries and pews were put in.

It was not entirely unusual practice at the time in the Netherlands, but this is the only clandestine church to have survived. The reason for this is that as soon as St. Nicholas’ Church was built in 1888 the church was converted into a Museum – it actually opened its doors on 28 April 1888 making it Amsterdam’s second oldest museum (after the Rijksmuseum of course).

It is certainly something very unusual and different and represents a small snapshot of time in Amsterdam when it was not the tolerant place it is today.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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and Shaun Runham
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