I wandered past the Posthoornkerk on Sunday and saw that it was open. This church has been restored and converted into offices and event space, it’s now used for all sorts of events including the Game of Thrones exhibition. Apparently it’s open the third Sunday of every month, but I’ve never noticed it before. So in I strolled.
Although the church is no longer in use as a church, I assume it’s de-consecrated, there is still plenty of evidence of its original purpose, most noticeably the soaring stained glass windows. They have the usual religious theme, including one image of the consecration of the church in the 1880s.
This is a relatively new church by Amsterdam standards. The church was designed by Pierre Cuypers, who also designed the Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Central Station. Building started in 1861, while the towers on Haarlemmerstraat were built between 1887 and 1889.
It was built once the freedom of religion was restored in 1853, ending almost 300 years of the suppression of Catholicism in Holland (the province) following the Union of Utrecht in 1579. During this time it was not possible to build Catholic churches in Amsterdam so Catholics gathered in hidden, or secret churches.
The Posthoornkerk takes its name from one of these hidden churches that had congregated nearby, with the last location being Prinsengracht 7, which still has a Posthoorn over the door.
By the 20th century congregation numbers had dropped, and the church was closed and boarded up in 1976. There was a plan to destroy the church and build some form of social housing. But a campaign was started and the building was saved. It was restored in the 1980s and developed into the offices and event space we have today.
It’s open for various events, but to see the full impact of the height of the space and the stained glass windows it’s best to see it when empty – which is the third Sunday of the month. You can also book it for events, including weddings, via the Stads Herstel website (Dutch only).