Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder. Our Lord in the Attic Church in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder is a 17th-century canal house, with a house church in the attic in the city center of Amsterdam in the Red Light District.

The church which was literally built in the attic of one of the canal homes is a work of art and a marvel to see.

The Attic Church

Hidden in an ancient canal house is this Catholic church that was built in the attic on the top three floors of the canal house during the 1660s.


OMG is the reaction one has after climbing numerous steep steps some that have ropes to help you climb to get to the attic and walk upon this magnificient church!

The church in the attic has a unique history 

The Spanish ruled much of Netherlands until the late 1500s when the Protestants seized power and took over the area in 1578. Once they took power Protestants forbade Roman Catholics to practice their faith in public.

“In the Republic of the Netherlands, citizens enjoyed freedom of belief and freedom of conscience as long as it was behind the front door. Catholics were only allowed to worship within the confines of their homes out of sight. ” Lord in the Attic Museum

To create a church where fellow Catholics could worship, many of the wealthy Catholics in the city built house churches in their canal homes. Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder is one such church. Though the local city council was aware of these churches, as long as they were not worshipping in public Catholics were allowed to practice their faith.

Our Lord in the Attic

Our Lord in the Attic in Amsterdam is one of the last remaining fully preserved house churches in the city.

The hidden house church in the attic Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder is a classic example of the way in which people dealt with different religions in Amsterdam in the 17th century. 

Home and church

At this well preserved home you can see how the merchants of Amsterdam lived as well as climb up to the attic to see the church that was built by removing the base of the top 3 floors.

Jan Hartman a German transplant to Amsterdam built the church in the attic

In 1661, a well-to-do Catholic merchant named Jan Hartman (1619-1668) bought the canal house including the two alley houses behind it.  Hartman, who came from Germany lived there with his wife Elisabeth and their children.

Immediately after the purchase, he bought two more homes behind and next to the main house. Hartman then started a major renovation of the main home with grand living rooms facing the canal and bedrooms with built-in box beds. 

The church that Jan Hartman built is located in the attics of the main canal house and the two alley houses behind it.  As part of the renovation Hartman connected the attic floors of the three buildings and converted them into a house church creating an enormous space for a place of worship.

150 person church in the attic

The church in the attic can house upto 150 people who attended service at any given time.  The Catholic churchgoers would enter through a side door in the home, then from there they climbed the stairs to the house church in the attic. 

Three levels of seating for everyone to worship

The church has three levels of seating. The main level and 2 more levels of pews that border the main floor creating an open space in the middle for the ornate ceiling and artwork and lighting to show through.

The altar

The baroque altar is the showpiece of the attic church. Due to lack of space, a folding mahogany pulpit was hidden in the plinth of the left altar column which would be taken out and used as a pulpit. 

A very unique museum

The museum itself usually takes about 1-2 hours to go through. A self guided audio tour is available at the museum that narrates the history of this unique home and church.

Wear comfortable shoes! The steps leading up to the attic are steep and tight and claustrophobic. But the church is well worth the effort!

For one of the most unique churches you’ll every see, visit the Lord in the Attic Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The museum is rarely crowded on weekdays.

Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder. Our Lord in the Attic Museum. Amsterdam, Netherlands

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