The Netherlands

Westerkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Westerkerk (Western Church) has the tallest tower in Amsterdam at 279 feet. It was built in the Golden Age of the city around 1620-1631 and was designed by Hendrick de Keyser. It stands on the Prinsengracht canal on the edge of the now-trendy but then shady Jordaan District.

The church has two famous associations; the oldest with Rembrandt who was buried in the church – although bizarrely the whereabouts of his grave is now unknown. The second association is more recent and is with Anne Frank who could see the top of the tower through the attic window of the house in which her family sheltered during World War II. The Westerkerk is mentioned many times in her famous Diary in which she describes the chiming of the clock to be a source of comfort. A memorial statue to Anne Frank stands just outside the church, as does the Homomonument – a memorial for people persecuted for their homosexuality.

In 1969 Queen Beatrix (then a Princess) married in the Westerkerk.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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