Ons Lieve Heer op Solder is a 17th century house with a Catholic church hidden in the attic. The building is now a wonderful museum where you can visit the original canal house and the secret church. They even hold regular Sunday mass here.
ONS LIEVE HEER OP SOLDER • HIDDEN AMSTERDAM CATHOLIC CHURCH
As you would probably expect, the church hidden in the attic is an amazing sight to see. However the entire house and experience of moving through the museum is just as special.
Ons Lieve Heer op Solder recently renovated the entrance to their museum. It is bright white and well organized. Head downstairs to pick up your audio guide (available in several languages) and start your tour.
You will begin at the house entrance and learn about the original inhabitants and the history of the structure as you climb stairs and move through the building. The museum is located in three adjacent canalhouses that were all originally owned by fabric importer Jan Hartman. Meneer Hartman was the one to build this hidden church in the upper floors of the three buildings.
The Catholic Church was built in the 1660s during the Protestant Reformation. The Dutch allowed religions other than Protestants to practice but they had to do so in secret. There were more than 30 “hidden churches” in Amsterdam from 1578-1853.
When the nearby Sint Nicolaaskerk was opened in the 1880s the hidden “Our Lord in the Attic” church was no longer needed and in 1888 it opened to the public as a museum, making it the oldest museum in Amsterdam other than the Rijksmuseum.
Ons Lieve Heer op Solder is one of the most interesting museums in Amsterdam. Many of the lovely house museums like Museum Van Loon, Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, Willet Holthuysen, Rembrandthuis and Cromhouthuis offer a glimpse into upper class life back in the old days. But with the very dim lighting and creaking original wood floors this museum seems to really capture a feeling of what life was truly like in 17th century Amsterdam. You’ll see living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms and learn about the people who lived there.
There are special touches throughout the museum, I loved how they put prickly dried thistle flowers on the chairs instead of signs warning not to sit! It is also interesting to see the household items and the things they found in the cesspit behind the homes.
A few things to note about the museum: it is quite dim inside so those with poor vision should take extra care on cloudy days. Also there are some typical Amsterdam stairs to negotiate. Nothing strenuous at all but a bit narrow so watch your step. A trip through the museum takes about an hour or so. Definitely don’t forget to grab the free audio tour, the museum has no signage and you want to know the stories behind what you see!
There is still Sunday mass held in this special church. Check the museum website for more information.
Tips for places to eat and drink nearby Ons Lieve Heer Op Solder:
- just next door is the wonderful craft brewery Brouwerij de Prael which offers tasty beer and food
- Koffieschenkerij de Oude Kerk is a cozy place for a coffee and some cake
- hit up nearby Omelegg or Pancakes for breakfast or brunch before a trip to the museum
- for more things to see and do in the Red Light District check out our NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE
Ons Lieve Heer op Solder
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38, Amsterdam
Canal house museums are some of our favorites in Amsterdam. If you like this one, you should also visit Cromhouthuis and Bijbels Museum, Huis Marseille, Museum Van Loon, Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis and Rembrandthuis.
Looking for secret, hidden locations? Check out our list of Amsterdam secret places!