Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Amsterdam

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Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Basiliek van de Heilige Nicolaas
AMSTERDAM HOLLAND APRIL 2013 (8711705082).jpg
The basilica in 2013
Basilica of Saint Nicholas is located in Amsterdam
Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Basilica of Saint Nicholas
Location in the city center of Amsterdam
52°22′35.3″N 4°54′4.1″E / 52.376472°N 4.901139°E / 52.376472; 4.901139Coordinates: 52°22′35.3″N 4°54′4.1″E / 52.376472°N 4.901139°E / 52.376472; 4.901139
LocationPrins Hendrikkade 73
Amsterdam, Netherlands
DenominationRoman Catholic
Architect(s)Adrianus Bleijs
ParishAmsterdam St Nicholas
Deacon(s)Eugene Brussee

The Basilica of Saint Nicholas (Dutch: Basiliek van de Heilige Nicolaas) is located in the Old Centre district of Amsterdam, Netherlands, very close to Amsterdam's main railway station. It is the city's primary Roman Catholic church.[1]


The church is built on a previously urban site, necessitating a northwest-southeast axis to be adopted, rather than the standard east-west axis. It lies between the street, Prins Hendrikkade, and the canal, Oudezijds Kolk.

When built, the church was called St. Nicholas inside the Walls, i.e. inside the Amsterdam City wall, the oldest part of the Amsterdam defence works. The architect, Adrianus Bleijs (1842-1912) designed the church based on a combination of several revival styles: the most prominent being the Neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance.


The main facade is flanked by two towers, with a rose window in between. The centre of this window contains a bas-relief sculpture, depicting Christ and the four Evangelists, made in the Van den Bossche and Crevels workshop in 1886. A sculpture of the patron saint of both the church and the city of Amsterdam is also placed in a niche in the upper section of the gable top. The well-known sculptor Bart van Hove (1850-1914) made the sculpture in 1886.

The crossing of the main body of the church is articulated by a large octagonal tower with a baroque style dome and lantern, crowned by a cross. The basis of the floor plan is a classic three-aisled cross-basilica, with a nave, two aisles and a single transept. The choir has a conventional location, at the end of the nave. At the south-east ends of each side aisle, two chapels are located: one devoted to Mary and one to Joseph.

The basilica has a number of religious murals. Above the high altar is the crown of Maximilian I, which is a symbol seen throughout Amsterdam.[1]

Interior of St Nicholas Basilica, Amsterdam
High altar of St Nicholas Basilica, Amsterdam

The central dome is highly ornate as viewed from below and contains four levels of stained glass, encircling the dome.

Dome of St Nicholas Basilica, Amsterdam

Above the main entrance of the church, beneath the rose window, a 19th-century Sauer Organ can be found, on which concerts are given and mass is accompanied.

Unusually for a Roman Catholic church, the church contains a pulpit, which is sited on the south end of the nave.

The dome of the basilica seen from the Oudezijds Voorburgwal

Basilica status[edit]

The interior of the dome.St Nikolas Basilica, Amsterdam

In the 125th year of its existence, St Nicholas' Church was elevated to a "basilica minor". This formally happened on 8 December 2012. The occasion was marked during a celebration of solemn Vespers, and was attended by ecclesiastical and secular authorities, including Mgr. A. Dupuy, Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands, who officially declared the change of status to the congregation.


  1. ^ a b Martin Dunford (2010). The Rough Guide to The Netherlands. Penguin. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-84836-882-8. Retrieved 24 November 2011.

External links[edit]