Begijnhof Chapel in Amsterdam in Amsterdam: History, Services, and Facts

The Begijnhof Chapel, also known as the Engelse Kerk (English Church) or the Chapel of the Begijnhof, is a historic religious site located within the Begijnhof courtyard in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Here's an overview of this captivating place:

In the early 17th century, the Begijnhof Chapel became a place of worship for English-speaking Protestant worshipers who were living in Amsterdam at the time. It was converted into an English Church in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and has served as such ever since. Today, it still holds English-language religious services.

The Begijnhof Chapel is affiliated with the Church of Scotland and continues to be a place of Protestant worship. It offers regular Sunday services, including Anglican and Presbyterian traditions, as well as other religious events throughout the year.

Inside the chapel, you can find a collection of historical artifacts, including beautifully crafted stained glass windows, antique furniture, and religious artwork. These elements contribute to the chapel's rich historical and cultural significance.


The history of the Begijnhof Chapel in Amsterdam is closely intertwined with the history of the Begijnhof itself. Here's an overview of its historical background:

  • Origins: The Begijnhof was founded in the 14th century as a residential community for Beguines, religious women who lived a devout but independent lifestyle. These women were not nuns but chose to live a religious life without taking formal vows. Undoubtedly, it is one of the oldest churches in Amsterdam.  

  • Chapel Construction: The original chapel in the Begijnhof was built around 1419. It served as a place of worship for the Beguines residing in the courtyard. The chapel underwent various renovations and alterations over the centuries, reflecting the changing architectural styles and needs of the community.

  • English Church: In the early 17th century, Amsterdam became a haven for English-speaking Protestant refugees fleeing religious persecution in England. The Begijnhof Chapel was designated as the English Church, providing a place of worship for this community. The English Church in the Begijnhof became an important spiritual and social center for English-speaking residents of the city.

  • Religious Tolerance: The Begijnhof Chapel and the Begijnhof courtyard were known for their relative religious tolerance during a time of religious conflict. The Dutch Republic, where Amsterdam is located, allowed for a certain degree of religious freedom, attracting diverse religious communities.

  • Historical Events: The Begijnhof Chapel witnessed significant historical events throughout its existence. It survived the turbulent years of the Reformation and the subsequent transition of Amsterdam from a Catholic stronghold to a Protestant city. It also endured periods of religious strife and social changes. It is one of the best churches in Amsterdam, Netherlands


The Begijnhof Chapel, also known as the Engelse Kerk (English Church) or the Chapel of the Begijnhof, offers religious services and activities for visitors and the local community. Here are some key aspects of the chapel's services:

  • Worship Services: This English-speaking church in Amsterdam chapel holds regular worship services, primarily in English, catering to English-speaking residents and visitors in Amsterdam. These services follow Anglican and Presbyterian traditions and include elements such as prayers, hymns, scripture readings, and sermons.

  • Sunday Services: The Begijnhof Chapel conducts Sunday services, providing an opportunity for congregants to come together for communal worship. These services typically take place on Sunday mornings and follow a structured order of worship.

  • Special Services: The chapel also hosts special services during significant religious seasons and events, such as Christmas, Easter, and other important feast days. These services often feature enhanced musical performances, choirs, and additional religious rituals.

  • Community Events: The Begijnhof Chapel organizes various community events and activities, fostering a sense of fellowship and community among its congregants. These may include social gatherings, study groups, outreach programs, and opportunities for spiritual growth and engagement.

  • Pastoral Care: The chapel provides pastoral care and support to its congregation. This may include pastoral counseling, guidance, and support for individuals and families in their spiritual journeys and during challenging times.

Architectural Significance

The architectural structure of the Begijnhof Chapel in Amsterdam reflects its historical and cultural significance. You must visit this popular tourist destination in Amsterdam.  Here are some key features:

  • Gothic Architecture: The chapel exhibits Gothic architectural elements, which were prevalent during the time of its construction. The Gothic style is characterized by pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and large windows with intricate tracery. These features can be observed in the chapel's interior and exterior design.

  • Red Brick Façade: The exterior façade of the Begijnhof Chapel is predominantly constructed using red brick, which is a common material in Dutch architecture. The brickwork contributes to the chapel's traditional and timeless appearance.

  • Tower: The chapel features a small tower, which adds verticality to the structure. The tower is often topped with a weather vane or a small spire. While not as imposing as some church towers, it complements the overall silhouette of the chapel and the surrounding Begijnhof courtyard.

  • Simple Elegance: The interior of the chapel follows a relatively simple design, emphasizing a sense of elegance and serenity. The spacious nave is typically flanked by aisles, with columns or pillars supporting the vaulted ceilings. The use of neutral colors and minimal ornamentation contributes to a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere.

  • Stained Glass Windows: The chapel features stained glass windows that allow colorful light to filter into the interior. These windows often depict biblical scenes, religious figures, or symbols. The interplay of light and color creates a visually stunning and spiritually uplifting experience for visitors.


Here are some interesting facts about the Begijnhof Chapel in Amsterdam:

  • Historic Origins: The Begijnhof Chapel dates back to the 15th century and is an integral part of the larger Begijnhof complex, which was established in the 14th century. The Begijnhof was originally a sanctuary for the Beguines, religious women who lived a communal and pious life without taking formal religious vows.

  • English Church: In the early 17th century, during the Reformation, the chapel became a place of worship for English-speaking churches with Protestant refugees who sought religious freedom in Amsterdam. It was designated as the English Church and has maintained its English-language services ever since.

  • Architectural Style: The chapel exhibits a predominantly Gothic architectural style, characterized by pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and large windows. Its design showcases the influence of medieval ecclesiastical architecture.

  • Red Brick Facade: The exterior of the chapel is constructed using red bricks, which is a characteristic feature of Dutch architecture. The red brick facade gives the chapel a distinctive appearance, contrasting with the surrounding buildings.

  • Peaceful Courtyard: The Begijnhof Chapel is located within the tranquil Begijnhof courtyard. This enclosed courtyard provides a peaceful oasis in the busy city center of Amsterdam and is known for its serene atmosphere and beautiful gardens.