amsterdam: the garden which is the nearest to god

© oude kerk / wim hanenberg

standing tall smack in the middle of amsterdam's red light district, the oude kerk – old church in dutch – dwarfs all houses in the area, signifying its great prominence in a bygone era. founded around 1213, it's amsterdam's oldest structure and steeped in history. but if you think the building's appeal is entirely anchored in its past, you've got it wrong. sure, the oude kerk has retained some of its clerical stature, but also serves as one of the dutch capital's most unusual exhibition venues. this summer an audacious new chapter is being added with a little help of tatsuro atzu [1960], a japanese artist known for projects that tweak people's perception and experience of art and architecture. preceding a major roof maintenance check later this year, atzu has been commissioned to create an installation right on top of the building. 

entitled the garden which is the nearest to god, it consists of a rather unusual viewing platform in a celestial white hue and held up high in the air by a myriad of scaffolding, and referencing the classic image of church as a meeting place. the temporary venue is centered around the church's weather vane and the roof turret with clock, and even features a seating arrangement to eye the latter up close. needless to say it's a unique epxerience being up there, giving visitors unique views of amsterdam's oldest neighbourhood. fancy a monumental climb? if so, then click here to book your ticket [open through sep 6]. location: oudekerksplein 23 [centrum].

© oude kerk / photography: wim hanenberg