NileGuide Expert tip:
Take a look at the back of the church exterior; you will see half a tower built of the same material as the city hall. The church was promised the city's tallest tower when it felt threatened by the extravagant decor of the city hall, a mere secular building. To pacify the church, the city started to build the tower, but never completed it when they ran out of materials.
This beautiful church, called the "New Church" in English, is tucked in beside the Royal Palace in Amsterdam's grand Dam square. It was founded in 1408 when the Oude Kerk ("Old Church") became too small for Amsterdam's growing population. The church was consecrated to St. Mary and St. Catherine during its Catholic years, receiving its current name only after the Protestant Alteration. After suffering extensive damage from the city's many fires, the church was rebuilt in its current Gothic style during the second half of the seventeenth century. It is no longer used as a church, but is still used by the royal family for weddings and coronations. The rest of the time it is used for organ recitals and as an exhibition space in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum. Several famous Dutch figures are buried beneath the church's floors, most notably naval hero Admiral Michiel de Ruyter and poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel. Immediately inside the doors, a set of steps leads to a free area with a view over the church and drawings of the layout of medieval Amsterdam as well as of the church tower that was supposed to have been built at the same time as the Town Hall (now the Royal Palace) but was never completed.