The Westertoren (Western Tower) is Amsterdam’s highest church tower and its main iconic building. It is towering 85 metres high; well above the surrounding low-rising buildings of the city centre of Amsterdam. I think it is also one of the most beautiful church towers of Amsterdam, with magnificent views over the city. The Westertoren is part of the Westerkerk (Western Church), built between 1620 and 1631. The Westerkerk and Westertoren are neighbours to the Anne Frank House Museum.
Climbing the Westertoren for magnificent views over Amsterdam
From early April to the end of October you can climb up the Westertoren under supervision of a tour guide. The stairs are steep and there is no lift, therefore visiting the Westertoren is not suitable for those with walking difficulties. For those who make it to the top, are rewarded with magnificent views over Amsterdam and De Jordaan District. You can’t make reservations for the tower. Just go to Westertoren on the day you want to climb it and buy a ticket (for later that day).
Funny detail is that – you might have spotted it already – that the tower is not completely straight. Measured at crown height the tower is about 88cm off plumb. Another detail I want to share with you: the carillon of the Westertoren still has about 14 bells, casted by François Hemony in 1658. They sure made some high-quality, sustainable products back then.
The attached Westerkerk is a Protestant church. The church and tower are designed by Amsterdam’s renown city architect, Hendrick de Keyser and was finished in 1631. The church is built in Dutch renaissance style and the nave and two side aisles still have a wooden ceiling. The interior is worthwhile a visit, not in the least because of the impressive organ (1686) – which is very unusual for a Protestant church. The floor is covered with grave stones. Under each stone several persons are buried. It is said that Rembrandt van Rijn is also buried here, but his grave has not yet been located. In 1906 the city government at the time placed a remembrance stone in the church.
The church is open year round, but has limited opening hours during the week and from 1 April also on Saturdays.