St. Mary Magdalene Church in Amsterdam: History, Services, and Facts

St. Mary Magdalene is a prominent Catholic church located in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. The church is situated in the historic Jordaan neighborhood, near the Prinsengracht Canal. Here's an overview of St. Mary Magdalene in Amsterdam:

  • Artworks: The church is adorned with several notable artworks. One of the most significant pieces is the "Crowned Magdalene" painting by Jacob de Wit, which depicts Mary Magdalene with a crown of thorns. The church also houses a marble altar and an organ dating back to the 19th century.

  • Religious Significance: St. Mary Magdalene serves as an active Catholic parish and holds regular religious services. It is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, one of the most prominent figures in the Christian tradition, who is often associated with repentance and redemption.

  • Restoration: Over the years, the church has undergone various renovations and restorations to preserve its historical and architectural integrity. These efforts have helped maintain the church's original beauty and ensure its continued use for religious ceremonies and community events.

  • Location and Accessibility: St. Mary Magdalene is situated in the heart of Amsterdam, making it easily accessible to both residents and visitors. It is within walking distance of many popular attractions, such as the Anne Frank House and the Westerkerk.

  • Cultural Significance: The church is not only a place of worship but also a significant cultural landmark in Amsterdam. Its historical and architectural value contributes to the rich cultural heritage of the city and attracts tourists interested in exploring its religious and artistic treasures.

Visiting St. Mary Magdalene in Amsterdam, Netherlands provides an opportunity to appreciate its architectural splendor, immerse in its religious atmosphere, and delve into the city's history and culture.


The history of St. Mary Magdalene in Amsterdam dates back to the 17th century. Here's an overview of its historical background:

  • Origins: The site where the oldest church in Amsterdam stands today has a history that predates the current church. In the early 16th century, a small wooden chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene was built in the same location. However, as Amsterdam grew in prosperity and population during the Dutch Golden Age, a larger and more magnificent church became necessary.

  • Construction: The construction of the current St. Mary Magdalene began in 1631 under the supervision of architect Philip Vingboons. It took seven years to complete, and the church was consecrated in 1638. The design of the church reflects the prevailing architectural styles of the time, incorporating both Gothic and Renaissance elements. It is one of the best churches in Amsterdam

  • Catholic Legacy: St. Mary Magdalene has remained a Catholic church throughout its history, even during periods of religious turmoil in the Netherlands. The Dutch Reformation, which took place in the 16th century, saw the majority of churches in Amsterdam converted to Protestant use. However, some Catholic churches, including St. Mary Magdalene, managed to survive and continued to serve the Catholic community.

  • Renovations and Alterations: Over the centuries, St. Mary Magdalene has undergone various renovations and alterations to maintain and restore its structural integrity. In the 19th century, the church underwent a significant restoration led by architect Pierre Cuypers, known for his work on Amsterdam's Central Station and the Rijksmuseum. Cuypers made several changes to the interior, including the installation of a new organ.


Here are some common services that you might find:

  • Mass: St. Mary Magdalene likely holds regular Mass services, including daily Mass, Sunday Mass, and special Masses for important religious holidays and occasions. These services involve prayers, scripture readings, homilies, and the celebration of the Eucharist.

  • Sacraments: The church may offer sacraments such as Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Reconciliation (Confession), Matrimony (weddings), and Anointing of the Sick. These sacraments are important rituals in the Catholic faith and are usually administered by a priest. It is one of the best English-speaking churches in Amsterdam

  • Liturgical Celebrations: St. Mary Magdalene may hold various liturgical celebrations throughout the liturgical year. These include the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil), Christmas Masses, Ash Wednesday, and other special feasts and solemnities.

  • Prayer Services: The church may organize prayer services, including devotional prayers such as the Rosary, Novenas, Stations of the Cross, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. These services provide opportunities for personal and communal prayer.

  • Religious Education: St. Mary Magdalene might offer religious education programs for children, teenagers, and adults. This may include Sunday School, sacramental preparation classes, Bible studies, and faith formation courses.

  • Community Outreach: The church may be involved in various community outreach programs, such as assisting the needy, visiting the sick and elderly, supporting charitable initiatives, and organizing social events that promote community bonding.

Architectural Significance

St. Mary Magdalene in Amsterdam holds architectural significance for several reasons. Here are some key aspects of its architectural importance:

  • Dutch Renaissance Architecture: This beautiful church in Amsterdam showcases elements of Dutch Renaissance architecture, which was prevalent during the 17th century. The church's design reflects the transition from the Gothic style of the Middle Ages to the more classical Renaissance style. It features a combination of vertical lines, pointed arches, and decorative elements, blending the traditional and the contemporary.

  • Philip Vingboons' Design: The church was designed by the renowned Dutch architect Philip Vingboons. Vingboons is known for his contributions to Amsterdam's architectural heritage, and St. Mary Magdalene is considered one of his masterpieces. The church's balanced proportions, intricate details, and harmonious composition reflect Vingboons' skill in creating a visually appealing and structurally sound building.

  • Gothic Revival Influence: While St. Mary Magdalene incorporates Renaissance elements, it also reflects a Gothic Revival style. The pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and slender columns in the interior resemble the characteristics of Gothic architecture, which was experiencing a revival during the construction of the church. This blend of styles adds to the architectural interest of the building.


Here are some facts about St. Mary Magdalene in Amsterdam:

  • Age: St. Mary Magdalene is over 380 years old, with its construction taking place between 1631 and 1638.

  • Architectural Style: The church in the Netherlands is a prime example of Dutch Renaissance architecture, characterized by a fusion of Gothic and Renaissance elements.

  • Architect: St. Mary Magdalene was designed by architect Philip Vingboons, who was well-known for his contributions to Amsterdam's architectural heritage.

  • Location: The Amsterdam church is located on the Prinsengracht canal in the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam. Its address is Prinsengracht 27, 1015 DV Amsterdam, Netherlands.

  • Interior: The interior of the church features ornate decorations, intricate stucco work, and impressive woodcarvings, creating a visually stunning and atmospheric space.

  • Stained Glass Windows: St. Mary Magdalene boasts beautiful stained glass windows that depict religious scenes, saints, and biblical figures, adding color and symbolism to the interior.

  • Tower: The church's bell tower stands tall above its entrance, making it a distinctive feature in the Amsterdam skyline.

  • Catholic Parish: St. Mary Magdalene continues to serve as an active Catholic parish, offering regular religious services, sacraments, and community activities.

  • Cultural Significance: The church is considered a significant cultural heritage site in Amsterdam, showcasing the city's historical and religious legacy.

  • Restoration: Over the years, St. Mary Magdalene has undergone several restorations to preserve its architectural and historical value, ensuring its longevity and continued use.

  • Visitor Attraction: The church attracts tourists and visitors who appreciate its architectural beauty, historical importance, and spiritual ambiance.