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ART

Concertgebouw

The Concertgebouw is a concert hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Because of its superb acoustics, the Concertgebouw is considered one of the three finest concert halls in the world, along with Boston's Symphony Hall and the Musikverein in Vienna.

Churches

Nieuwe Kerk

The Nieuwe Kerk is a landmark church in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Nieuwe Kerk (Dutch for "New Church") is located on Dam Square, next to the royal palace. The Nieuwe Kerk was started in the late 14th century when the Netherlands was still predominantly Catholic. When the bishop of Utrecht gave permission to build the church in 1408, the Oude Kerk ("Old Church") was already over a century old, and too small for the growing population of the city. The Nieuwe Kerk was consecrated St. Mary and St. Catharine.

Since the Reformation the Nieuwe Kerk has played a small role in Dutch history. Whenever a new Dutch monarch is crowned, the coronation takes place in the Nieuwe Kerk. Nieuwe Kerk is also the burial location for many of the Netherlands' famous military leaders. Famous leaders interred in the Nieuwe Kerk include Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, Commodore Jan van Galen, Admiral Charles Jacob Berghuis, and Jan van Speyk.

The Netherlands, like the rest of Europe has become more secular in recent years, and as a result, the Nieuwe Kerk has a new more secular role in Amsterdam. In addition to being a tourist site, the Nieuwe Kerk also has exhibitions and classical music recitals.

Zuiderkerk

The Zuiderkerk ("South Church") is a 17th Century Protestant church in the Nieuwmarkt area of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The church played an important part in the life of Rembrandt and was the subject of a painting by Claude Monet.

The Zuiderkerk was the city's first church built specifically for Protestant services. It was constructed between 1603 and 1611 and stands on the Zuiderkerkhof ("South Graveyard") square near the Sint Anthoniesbreestraat. The distinctive church tower, which dominates the surrounding area, was not completed until 1614 and contains a carillion of bells built by the brothers Hemony and installed in 1656.

Westerkerk

he Westerkerk is a church in Amsterdam, finished in 1638 after a design by Hendrick de Keyser.

The crown topping the spire is the Emperor's Crown of Maximilian I.

Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn lies buried there in an unknown grave.

The church is at the bank of the Prinsengracht canal.

It is located close to "The Achterhuis" where diarist Anne Frank, her family and others hid from Nazi persecution for two years during World War II. The Westerkerk is mentioned frequently in her diary - its clock tower could be seen from the attic of "The Achterhuis" and Frank described the chiming of the clock as a source of comfort. A memorial statue of Frank is located outside the church.

Near the Anne Frank memorial, is the Homomonument, a memorial for men and women persecuted for their homosexuality.

Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk (Dutch for "old church") is Amsterdam’s oldest parish church. Consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht, its renaissance atmosphere has barely been touched and is the obvious starting point of any historic walk in Amsterdam. The foundations were set on an artificial mound, thought to be the most solid ground of the settlement in this marshy province. The church covers an area of 3,300 square meters. Today, it borders Amsterdam's main red-light district.

The original building design was audacious and the church has seen a number of renovations performed by 15 generations of Amsterdam citizens. The church stood for only half a century before the first alterations were made, the aisles lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. Not long after the turn of the 15th century, north and south transepts were added to the church creating a cross formation. Work on these renovations was completed in 1460, though it is likely that progress was largely interrupted by the great fires that besieged the city in 1421 and 1452.

The roof of the Oude Kerk is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe. The Estonian planks date back to 1390 and boast some of the best acoustics in Europe. Many concerts are performed here, including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.