Built in 1611, Amsterdam’s South Church (Zuiderkerk) was the city’s first Protestant church and remains one of its most memorable landmarks. The church’s striking facade and distinctive bell tower have been painted by Monet, while Rembrandt reputedly painted The Night Watch there.
Amsterdam walking tours often make a stop to admire the South Church and the quintessential photo spot is looking out across the Groenburgwal canal—the same angle from which Monet painted his Zuiderkerk painting. After admiring the 17th-century church from outside, continue your sightseeing tour to nearby attractions including the Rembrandt House, the Royal Palace, Waterlooplein Market, and the Red Light District.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Church services are no longer held at the South Church and it is instead used as a venue for concerts, events, and corporate entertaining.
- The church is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The South Church sits just south of Amsterdam’s Nieuwmarkt, within the central canal loop. The closest metro station is Nieuwmarkt, and the church is just a short walk from Waterlooplein and many of central Amsterdam’s attractions.
When to Get There
For photographers, the most flattering light can be found at dusk, but for a crowd-free shot, aim to get there early in the morning.
An Architectural Masterpiece
The South Church is one of a series of ecclesiastical masterpieces constructed by Dutch Renaissance architect Hendrick de Keyser, who helped shape the face of the Grachtengordel (Canal Ring) by designing the West Church (Westerkerk) on Prinsengracht and the North Church (Noorderkerk) in the Jordaan district. The church’s architectural highlight is its ornamental wooden spire, which looms 246 feet (75 meters) above the surrounding gabled houses and stands out thanks to its ornate gilding and balustrading. De Keyser died in 1621 and is buried in the church along with three of Rembrandt’s children and Ferdinand Bol, who was the artist’s most famous pupil.