The Van Houtenkerk, on the Oudegracht in Weesp, houses a beautiful authentic interior in the style of the architect Berlage’s Nieuwe Kunst (‘new art’) with Art Nouveau features. What immediately catches the eye are the beautiful chandeliers and wall lamps, the decorative stencils on the walls, and the arching ceiling, which seems larger thanks to the stained glass windows.
Versatile and familiar
The Van Houtenkerk is available for bookings any day of the week for lectures, concerts, dinners, recordings, memorial services and weddings.
Many annually recurring events take place at the Van Houtenkerk, including the Weesp Chamber Music Festival, the Weespers aan de Wand exhibition (‘Weesp artists on the wall’), the Antique Market, and concerts by the Kroonkoor and the Erard Ensemble.
Polished and professional
The church is located in the centre of Weesp, in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, with ample parking within a five-minute walk.
The building is equipped with all the modern facilities needed to make your event a success, such as a good sound system, theatre lighting, toilets and heating. The acoustics are excellent, which makes the church a popular spot for recordings, choirs and musicians. The organ was built by the Adema company in 1907 and restored in 2019, and it’s now available to be played again. The venue has two grand pianos: a Bechstein and an Erard.
Contact the Stadsherstel team for inspiration and information about the possibilities of the venue.
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Berlage and Jugendstil
The Van Houtenkerk was built in 1906, commissioned by the Van Houten sisters, heirs to a famous chocolate manufacturing family. The church is therefore popularly known as the ‘the Chocolate Church’. The exterior has neo-Romanesque style characteristics, while the interior has features of the architect Berlage’s Nieuwe Kunst (‘new art’) style with Art Nouveau elements.
Restoring the city
After using the church for more than a century, the congregation could no longer bear the burden of the day-to-day management and maintenance, and it transferred the ownership to Stadsherstel in 2009. The building was then restored both inside and outside, and a new heating and air treatment system was installed, plus new toilets and a kitchen suitable for caterers.
Stadsherstel has breathed new life into the building. In honour of the church’s ‘chocolate history’, the first event after the reopening was the Chocolate Festival, featuring children’s performances, a poetry competition, classical concerts at the highest level by musicians including Nicolas van Poucke, a delicious chocolate dinner, and a chocolate making workshop. A metre-high chocolate model of the Van Houtenkerk received national media attention and the antique market attracted around a thousand visitors.
Stadsherstel also provided support for the organisation and production of the Weesp Chamber Music Festival, which is now able to operate independently, and treats Weesp to a week of the best chamber music every year.
Weekly services are still held in the church.
Normally I always have my eyes closed during a concert, but here I can’t stop looking, gazing dreamily at the beautiful arched ceiling and the chandeliers.
I had been looking for a table for our basement for years and I finally found it in this extraordinary place close to where we live, where there is an annual antique market.