People with a history
Our congregation has flourished over the years, keeping English worship in the heart of Amsterdam since 1607, except for a short period during German occupation in the Second World War. The English Reformed Church was set up under the Reformed Church in the Netherlands, always with English and Scottish ministers. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the congregation established ties with Scotland; since then the minister has always come from Scotland.
The congregation is now fully part of the Church of Scotland in the Presbytery of Europe. At its twice yearly meetings the Presbytery is attended by representatives of the twelve Church of Scotland European congregations. The congregation is also represented by an elder at the Amsterdam Classis of the Netherlands Reformed Church.
We are a growing congregation of almost 400 members, and continue to reflect the international nature of Amsterdam and the world of the Christian Church. The Consistory which guides the congregation usually consists of twelve members, both deacons and elders, who represent the breadth of the congregation in age and background.
The Church Building
The first church in the Begijnhof was built as a private chapel in about 1390; it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 1490s. The church was closed by the Town Council in the Reformation and lay unused for 20 years till in 1607 it was given to English-speaking worshippers in Amsterdam.
“Tomorrow morning I am going to the English church; it lies there so peaceful in the evening in that silent Begijnhof among the thorn hedges, and seems to say:
In loco isto dabo pacem: In this place I shall give peace, says the Lord. Amen, so be it.”
–Vincent van Gogh
The Congregation of the English Reformed Church has owned the building since 1607 – over 400 years! We are privileged to be the guardians of such history, welcoming a diverse range of people every week. We try and keep the church open as much as possible to enable as many people as possible the chance to see our church and experience the peace that Van Gogh wrote about.
The Müller-Flentrop Organ
The double name of our beautiful organ refers to the original Müller organ which was built in the church in 1753, and the company which built the new replica organ, Flentrop. The modern organ was completed in 2000 after several years of fundraising, designing, building and fine-tuning. It is one of the finest organs in Amsterdam, and indeed in The Netherlands.
Copies of a CD – a range of music played by Olja Bučo on the Müller-Flentrop Organ are available at the church for €15. If you would prefer to order the CD through the post, please send us €18 (price includes postage and handling) and we will post it to you.
Send your request to Richard Zook via our Contact form selecting the department ‘Organist/Musical Director’.