Hidden away in Amsterdam, Our Lord in the Attic Museum thrusts visitors back in time hundreds of years.
Past the seedy Red Light District and cannabis coffee shops, in what outwardly appears to be a canal house, lies a secret that goes back over three centuries.
Step inside. After exploring the various stately rooms with period-furnishings of this house-turned museum, climb the narrow and steep staircase to the upper floors to discover an amazing spectacle: a miniature Catholic church. But, shh, don’t tell.
Our Lord in the Attic
Known as “Our Lord in the Attic” or “Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder,” it features a beautiful gilded-gold altar, renaissance-era paintings, and balcony pews that soars above on two levels. Above all, it’s an incredible piece of architecture built inside the space of a common attic.
The church captures the essence of the Dutch Golden Age: a time when religious, intellectual, philosophic and scientific tolerance won the day, at least compared to other parts of late-medieval Europe.
The persecution of Catholicism and other minority faiths in 17th-century Holland forced its parishioners to worship away from public view. In the wake of Reformation throughout Europe, they were tolerated only as much as they were discreet. These hidden churches and temples provided a place among the faithful to practice their holy traditions, as officials mostly turned a blind-eye.
This fully-realized Catholic church, hidden away in such a nondescript Amsterdam location, speaks to the power of faith and ingenuity.
In the late 18th century, Our Lord in the Attic converted into a museum, making it now the second oldest in the city. Over 80,000 people visit annually and they still hold regular Sunday Mass.
Among the faithful or the curious, Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder is a glorious sight to behold.
- Located at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40, 1012 GE Amsterdam.
- Hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday; 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays and holidays. The museum closes on April 27 (King’s Day).
- Ticket prices are Euro (€) 11.00 Adult, 5.50 Children (5-17). You can purchase tickets in advance at their website or at the museum. For more information, call +31 20 624 6604.
- The museum offers guided tours in English, Dutch, German and French. Catholic Mass is held every Sunday.