However, a great secret is hidden behind the beautiful facade: if you follow the narrow stairs, past all the age-old rooms, you will discover a real church in the attic. Completely with beautiful statues, decorated columns, and a large organ.
The church has a very old-fashioned Dutch name, Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (or in English: Our Dear Lord on the Attic), and was secretly built at a time when religious people in Amsterdam still had a lot of quarrels with each other. The Protestants won that battle and then said Catholics were no longer allowed to hold Mass in public. The Catholic merchant Jan Hartman didn’t want to give in and started building his so-called Schuilkerk in 1630. Much later, in the nineteenth century – about 200 years ago – religious people in the city finally made peace and Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder was replaced by a much larger building, the attic in the end turned out to be a bit small: the Basilica of Saint Saint Nicholas. Like its secret predecessor, this church – which is located right across Central Station – is dedicated to the patron saint of merchants, the city of Amsterdam and children. Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder is now a museum; you enter the merchant’s house and the clandestine church through an underground passage that is accessed through the modern building at number 38.