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The Reformation was the major reform of European churches. In 1566, it led to uprisings in the low countries. The iconoclasm in the Netherlands was called the Beeldstorm. Churches everywhere were looted, vandalised or even destroyed, and the Oude Kerk was no exception. The building’s subsequent austere interior strongly defines its atmosphere and experience. Yet traces of this church’s Catholic past have been preserved, such as in the paintings on the wooden vaults and in the Lady Chapel’s colourful stained-glass windows.
At the Oude Kerk the past and the present go hand in hand. Look up, at the medieval paintings on the church’s wooden vaults; look down, at the floor covered with gravestones. The grave of Rembrandt’s wife Saskia van Uylenburgh is located here, under the small choir organ on the side. The work of contemporary artists relating to the building and its history can be found in various places in the church. Visit the Holy Sepulchre with its red stained glass window (2018) by Giorgio Andreotta Calò. Admire the picturesque light falling on the photographic work #0095 [Inside] (2017) by Misha de Ridder and visit the baptistry for the Jan Pieterszoon Coen sculpture (2017) by Iswanto Hartono that connects Indonesia’s colonial past with the history of the Oude Kerk.
This year will also be dedicated to the care of the building. Visitors can see various parts of the Oude Kerk being restored and preserved. In the east façade of the Lady Chapel, scaffolding has been erected to repair damage to the walls and stained glass windows. To read more about the history of the windows and the restoration process, please In the Mirror Room, the floral wall coverings are currently being repaired. Loose bits of linen and cracks around the doors are being repaired and reinforced. Once the cracks have been repaired, the damages will be filled and repainted. Next, the wall coverings will be thoroughly dusted and cleaned in their entirety, allowing the original colours to show through again. A large part of this restoration process is taking place in the Mirror Room itself, why not have a look?