The Netherlands

Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Zuiderkerk (Southern Church) is the first church to be built in the Netherlands specifically for Protestant worship. It dates to between 1603 and 1611 and is dominated by its distinctive tower which was not completed until 1614. It was design by Hendrick de Keyser who was later buried inside.

Rembrandt is associated with this church, although he was buried at the Westerkerk, as his house was close by. Even more closely associated with this church is Claude Monet who painted the church (probably in 1874). Rumours also say that Rembrandt painted the Night Watch in the church because his studio was too small, but these are probably apocryphal.

The church ceased to function as such in 1929. During the terrible last year of the Nazi Occupation (known as the winter of hunger) the church was used as a temporary morgue because people were dying faster than they could be buried.

In 1970 access to the church was closed as it had become unsafe. In the late 1970s a great restoration project was undertaken to save it and since 1988 it has served as an information centre and exhibition venue.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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