Gorgeous enough to have inspired both Sir Christopher Wren and giant of impressionism Claude Monet, this famous church was built between 1603 and 1611 by Hendrick de Keyser, one of the most prolific architects of Holland's Golden Age (he chose to be buried here). It was one of the earliest churches built in Amsterdam in the Renaissance style and was the first in the city to be built for the (protestant) Dutch Reformed Church. In 1944 during the hunger winter, it was a
morgue. The church's hallowed floors, under which three of Rembrandt's children are buried, are now rented out as events location. You can visit the church, although the serious redecorations that have taken place have deprived it of its charm. The church tower however—a soaring accumulation of columns, brackets, and balustrades—is one of the most glorious exclamation points in Amsterdam; its bells are played every Thursday and it is open for climbing from April to September or by prior arrangement (www.westertorenamsterdam.nl).