Oude Walenkerk - Amsterdam
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 52° 22.271 E 004° 53.812
31U E 629135 N 5804016
Quick Description: The Oude Walenkerk or Waalse Kerk (English: Walloon Church) is a former Roman Catholic Church that was constructed in 1496 in Amsterdam. It is now a Protestant church.
Location: Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Date Posted: 4/19/2015 8:20:58 PM
Waymark Code: WMNQJG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member dreamhummie
Views: 1

Long Description:
"The Walloon Church (Dutch: Waalse Kerk; French: Église Wallonne) is a Protestant church building in Amsterdam, along the southern stretch of Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal. The building dates to the late 15th century and has been in use as Walloon church since 1586. Every Sunday at 11 a.m. church services are held here in French. The church is also used for concerts and music recordings. It is known for its excellent acoustics. The building has held rijksmonument status since 1970.

The painter Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670) and the scientist Jan Swammerdam (1637-1680) are interred in the church. Elizabeth Timothy (1702-1757), the first female American newspaper editor and publisher, was most likely christened there. The painter Vincent van Gogh visited the church regularly in the 1870s to attend sermons delivered by his uncle Johannes Paulus Stricker.

The church was also known as the Franse Kerk ("French Church"), Walenkerk ("Walloons' Church"), Oude Walenkerk ("Old Walloons' Church"), or Oude Waalse Kerk ("Old Walloon Church").


The Walloon Church was originally the chapel of a Roman Catholic monastery, the Sint-Paulusbroederklooster. The monastery's first chapel was built in 1409 but most likely destroyed during the fire of 1452. In 1493, the monastery received permission to build a new chapel, which was taken into use three years later. Following the 1578 Alteratie (the Protestant Reformation in Amsterdam), the chapel was confiscated by the city government. It was used as a storeroom and for various other purposes until 1586, when it was offered to the Walloon Reformed community of religious refugees, French-speaking Protestants who had fled religious persecution in the Southern Netherlands and France. It was one of a large number of Walloon churches established in the Dutch Republic during this period — at least fifteen in the period 1571-1590 alone.

In 1616, a new entrance was added on the north side of the church, with a gate designed by city architect Hendrick de Keyser. The gate, which gave access to Oude Hoogstraat street, was decorated with skulls, a nod to the funeral processions which passed through this gate. The front gate of the church, in Classical style, dates to 1647.

The church, consisting of a central nave and a northern semitransept, was extended in 1661 with a southern semitransept. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 led to another wave of Protestant refugees from France, greatly swelling the Walloon community in Amsterdam. In order to accommodate the larger community, the church was extended with galleries on three sides. The church nevertheless proved too small, so a second church was opened in a disused bell foundry on Prinsengracht canal in 1716. The Walloon church was subsequently known as the Oude Waalse Kerk ("Old Walloon Church") or Grande Église ("Great Church") to distinguish it from the second church, known as the Nieuwe Waalse Kerk ("New Walloon Church") of Petite Église ("Lesser Church").

The church underwent further renovations in 1816 and 1891, among others, during which the galleries were again removed. In 1990-1992, the church was restored, whereby the foundations were restored to stop the church from sinking, caused by the front facade installed in 1885. During this restoration, so many tombstones were found that a decision was made to replace the concrete floor with a new, self-supporting floor with its own foundation. The balcony was also restored.

The small square in front of the church, known colloquially as the Walenpleintje ("Little Walloon Square"), was officially given this name in 1976. The address of the church is Walenpleintje 159, as the street numbering still follows that of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal."

--Wikipedia (visit link)
Monument Number: 50

Address of this Rijksmonument:
Walenpleintje 159 1012 JZ Amsterdam Netherlands

Relevant Database Website: [Web Link]

Is This Rijksmonument open to the public ?: yes

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