Amsterdam’s most important Roman Catholic church, the Basilica of Saint Nicholas was built between 1884 and 1887 and is one of the city’s most recognizable icons thanks to its striking neobaroque and neo-Renaissance features. An intricate rose window made in the acclaimed Van den Bossche and Crevels workshop adorns the facade.
The interior of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Amsterdam’s only basilica, is lavishly decorated with white and red marble, a collection of religious murals, dozens of statues, intricate stained glass, and many more ornate attributes. Saint Nicholas houses artwork by Flemish sculptor Perre van den Bossche and Dutch painter Jan Dunselman, the latter famed for his Stations of the Cross. The church contains an example of Dunselman's Stations: his illustration of the Eucharistic Miracle of Amsterdam.
Walking tours of Amsterdam often visit Saint Nicholas, and you can also admire the basilica from a boat on a canal tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.
- The church is free to enter.
- This is an active church, so be mindful of worshippers during services.
- Guided tours are offered for a small fee.
How to Get There
Saint Nicholas has a prime location in the very center of Amsterdam, just a minute’s walk from Amsterdam Centraal train station. From the south side of the station, go left on Prins Hendrikkade and you’ll see it on the opposite side of the street.
When to Get There
Saint Nicholas has limited public opening hours, Monday and Sunday from 12pm to 3 pm and Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 4pm. Note that walking around during daily Mass is not allowed. Check the website for up-to-date times, as well as for information on special concerts and recitals.
History of the Church and Promotion to Basilica
Saint Nicholas holds a special place in the heart of the Roman Catholics of Amsterdam. For centuries, they were prohibited from practicing their faith freely and forced to turn to clandestine networks, as the Kingdom of the Netherlands was Protestant. When freedom of religion finally prevailed in Amsterdam, a new Catholic church was needed to meet rapidly increasing demand. Saint Nicholas was elevated to basilica minor to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2012.