Amsterdam’s Hidden Treasures – Our Lord in the Attic Museum

Amsterdam’s Hidden Treasures – Our Lord in the Attic Museum

Renowned for its heaving tourist crowds,

raucous atmosphere and infamous window displays, Amsterdam’s boisterous Red

Light District is the last place you would expect to find one of the capital’s

most enchanting cultural gems, Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, a remarkable museum

drenched in history, charm, and above all, inimitability.

Lining a

picturesque waterway in the heart of the old city, passersby would certainly be

forgiven for failing to notice one of Amsterdam’s most unique and rewarding

attractions, residing inconspicuously behind the facade of a quintessential

canal side dwelling. This exceptional monument allows its guests to delve into

the city’s Golden Age and explore a typical 17th century townhouse,

which secretes the added treasure of a stunning Catholic church, tucked away

into the lodging’s upper three levels.

The story

begins in 1661, when an affluent merchant by the name Jan Hartman purchased a

prestigious property comprising of three adjoining houses. He began

refurbishing immediately, transforming the residence into a lavish setting

abounding with luxury, encapsulated by the splendid salon, which is one of the

best preserved living rooms of the Dutch Golden Age.

During this

period of Protestant Amsterdam, the public practising of Catholicism was

forbidden, although a large community of followers inhabited the local

community. In order to maintain their pious custom, clandestine prayer rooms

were established within their own homes, granting the freedom to worship

privately in peace. Being a devout Catholic himself, Hartman decided to

construct a church distributed across the entire attic floor of his three

abodes, an ambitious project that has emphatically stood the test of time.


designed and spacious enough to house a generous congregation, this secret

setting served as the neighbourhood’s parish church for an astonishing two

hundred years until the dedication of the substantial St. Nicolas’s Church

superseded the loft conversion in 1887. Thankfully, a group of Catholics pooled

their resources to buy the property and rescue it from demolition, subsequently

opening its doors as a museum the following year, making it the second oldest

in Amsterdam.


monument that exists today is a credit to the city and the individuals that

have preserved the building’s authenticity and heritage through a series of

renovations. The most recent of which is almost complete, a three year

restoration that has been conducted with the utmost respect and mastery,

transforming the museum into an enriching and accommodating environment that is

certain to impress.


fascinating audio tour comes free with admission, guiding you through the

dwelling’s nooks and crannies and past the 17th century furnishings,

leading you up the narrow staircases into the museum’s tour de force, the

inspirational church itself, which boasts two wooden galleries, marble columns,

gilded capitals and a beautifully reconditioned organ. The sheer architectural

accomplishment is enough to take your breath away and the peaceful atmosphere

lingers evocatively, humbling its visitors with an aura of centuries gone by.

Ons’ Lieve

Heer op Solder still operates as an active place of worship, offering unique

mass services every first Sunday of the month. However, this cherished

Amsterdam institution is first and foremost a museum, one of the city’s most

tranquil and undisturbed, which comes highly recommended for an afternoon of

unexpected enjoyment.

For opening times, admission costs and more

information regarding Our Lord in the Attic Museum, please visit the

organisation’s website at