Zuiderkerk (Southern church) is one of 3 old church towers in central Amsterdam that you can normally climb up and get a great panoramic view of the city. Please note that the other two – Oudekerk and Westerkerk – are under a long-term renovation so the Zuiderkerkstoren (Southern church tower) is currently the only one open to the public.
The Zuiderkerk is located on the Zuiderkerkhof off the Sint Antoniesbreestraat between Nieuwmarkt and Waterlooplein. This protestant church was designed in Amsterdam Renaissance style by Dutch architect Hendrick de Keyser (1561-1621) and constructed between 1603 and 1611.
The tower was completed later in 1614 and contains Amsterdam’s oldest clock made in 1511.
De Keyser himself is buried in the church building along with 3 of Rembrandt’s children and the noted Dutch artist Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680).
The church was also painted by French impressionist Claude Monet from the Groenburgwal canal in 1874. [Note, that painting is displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art].
The Zuiderkerk tower underwent a major renovation between 2014 and 2017, restoring the top part to its original dark grey colour.
The outside viewing platform is at the 35m level and gives some lovely views of the surrounding area – the tower itself is around 70m high including a large spire made from wood.
A visit to the Zuiderkerk tower is made by standard guided tour every 30 minutes. The tower entrance is on the Zandstraat side. There are no lifts so you will need to climb up stairs and step ladders. Luggage and bags can be safely stored downstairs.
The friendly and knowledgeable local guides can accommodate English speakers without any problem.
On the way up you stop off at different levels and the guide explains about various aspects of the tower – such as the inner wooden structure, a working mechanical clock, the carillon bells from 1656 and the main church bells (which are thought to be some of the best in the world).
In addition the tower offers a special Carillon Tour (every Tuesday at 1400 and Saturday at 1730) and a Bell Ringers Tour (every first Saturday of the month at 1700).
The building is no longer used as a place of worship. It has been a city council exhibition space and information centre on urban planning and is also hired for private and corporate events.
Zuiderkerk Tower Essential Info
|Opening Times||Open daily for tours Thu-Tue (closed Wednesdays) 1200-1800 (Sep), 1200-1700 (Oct). The tower is closed in the winter season November to March. Tours (30 minutes) run on the hour and half-hour. Walk-ins are possible.|
|Admission Prices (2021)||€9 per person. Children must be at least 6 years old and be accompanied by an adult.|
|Getting There||Zuiderkerk is a 15 minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station. There is a metro stop (lines 51/53/54) at nearby Nieuwmarkt.|
Zuiderkerk Tower, Zandstraat 17 1011 WB Amsterdam
T: +31(0)6 4139 0689, zuiderkerkstorenamsterdam.nl
Last update 15 September 2021, originally published in 2010.