The Westerkerk is an historic Protestant Church sitting next to the Prinsengracht canal. It is the largest church of its kind in the Netherlands, and has a history dating back to the 17th Century.
The most striking feature when you first lay eyes on the Church is the colossal clock tower standing over 85 meters high. Since being built in 1638, the tower has featured in poems and art work and boasts an impressive symbol of the Imperial Crown of Austria sitting above the clock face.
The Church building itself has recently been restored, with 12 replicas of the original chandeliers being fitted to help provide an authentic atmosphere.
Every Tuesday between noon and 1pm, the carillon of 50 bells at the top of the tower play. These are the same bells poignantly described by Anne Frank in her diary, with her old house situated just a few yards from the Church grounds. She described the sound as a constant reassurance during her time in hiding from the Nazis.
In addition to the carillon, the tower also contains the heaviest hour bell in Amsterdam. The bell weighs a staggering 16500lbs, while its hammer alone weighs in at 440lbs!
Rembrandt, the famous Dutch Painter, was buried at the Westerkerk in 1669. Despite records showing that he was certainly buried in a rental grave at the Church, nobody is entirely sure where. Many speculators believe his grave is towards the north of the grounds; however this theory has remained unproven.
The Church itself is still active, and welcomes Christians from across all branches of the religion to attend its Sunday services. It is worth noting that the Church does get very busy during the weekend, and so it is advisable to attend as early as possible – especially if you are looking to attend the service.
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