Executive summary by darmansjah
The 800-year-old Oude Kerk ("old church") is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, founded ca. 1213 and finally consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. After the Reformation in 1578 it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.
Oude Kerk, a church with a wooden roof
In mid-March each year, Catholics arrive at the Oude Kerk to celebrate the "Miracle of Amsterdam" that occurred in 1345. After taking communion, a dying man vomited the Host. When his vomit was thrown on the fire, the Host did not burn and was proclaimed a miracle. The Host was put in a chest and installed at the Oude Kerk; however, it disappeared during the Reformation.
Today, the Oude Kerk is a centre for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions and dinner parties. Among the events hosted is the prestigious annual World Press Photo awards ceremony. The venue hosts many concerts with performers including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Part of the Oudekerksplein, the square surrounding the church, is used by prostitutes who offer their services from behind windows. The street also features a bronze relief of a hand caressing a breast that was set in the cobblestone at night by an anonymous artist. In March 2007, a bronze statue named Belle honoring the prostitutes of the world was also installed there.