Rorate Caeli

Museum of 17th-Century Hidden Catholic Church in Amsterdam to be closed? -- considered "too Western"

Sent by a Polish friend of Rorate Caeli (Polish original here):


World-famous museum in Amsterdam is to be closed, because for the leftist city authorities its staff is too "white" and "Western"

The hidden church "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder", hidden in the attic of a 17th-century Amsterdam tenement house, is one of the city's oldest museums, as well as one of the most famous after Anne Frank family home, Van Gogh and the national museums ( Rijksmuseum). Since I have already presented it quite extensively in the text "Fleeting exhibition in the church hidden in the attic", here I will only remind you of the most important facts.

From the moment of the victory of the Protestant revolution in the second half of the 16th century in the lands of today's Netherlands, Catholicism was banned, and Catholics trying to profess their faith were persecuted (although fortunately less bloody than, for example, in England). Consequently, secret chapels, hidden in private houses, were built in many cities, where the faithful gathered silently. There were over a dozen of them in Amsterdam. This state of affairs lasted until the nineteenth century, when the ban on Catholic worship was lifted. While many anti-Catholic restrictions were still in force (the ban on Catholic processions in this leading "libertarian" country in the European Union was in force until 1983!), churches were allowed to be built. Secret chapels were no longer needed and they were liquidated, but the purely baroque hidden church "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder" ("Our beloved Lord in the attic") in the heart of Amsterdam's old town, at Oudezijds Voorburgwal, 38, was left as a trace of those times and turned into a museum.

Today, you can visit not only the church itself with a sacristy, confessional, etc., but the entire tenement house, containing furnishings typical of a wealthy 17th-century Amsterdam merchant, including a kitchen, bedroom, etc. The museum is well organized, it also has a collection of valuable historic liturgical vessels and vestments (photos of many of them have already been presented on the profile "Adopt a church in the Netherlands" on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), displays multimedia educational presentations and runs a shop with souvenirs and valuable books on Christian history and art. For every tourist from the Western civilization, or even only interested in this civilization, "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder" is an absolute a must-see.

It can also be added that "Our beloved Lord in the attic" is a rare trace of the persecution of Catholics by Protestants (the persecution in the other direction is often talked about), and on every first Sunday of the month a Holy Mass is celebrated there (this tradition is already 70 years old).

Unfortunately, if there is no miracle, this unique museum in the world will be closed in a few months, because the municipal institution responsible for financing cultural institutions (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, AFK) suddenly refused to finance it. And all this - it is not about lowering the subsidy, as is normal when there is lack of money, but about taking it up to the last cent. And it is true that it is not a lot of money - less than 700,000 euros in a four-year subsidy (i.e. 175,000 per year) is a small sum in the capital of the Netherlands - but for this small museum it is either to be or not to be, especially in the context of a large decline in revenues from tickets due to the coronavirus pandemic and a lockdown lasting several months.

Why will the city deny the continued existence of the only 130-year-old secret church museum, amassing valuable collections of historic artifacts and being a unique testimony to everyday life in 17th-century Amsterdam? Officially, it is about "lack of resources", but the media has already revealed that the cause is more specific.

One of the largest Dutch newspapers, the afternoon newspaper "De Dagelijkse Standaard" (which is not really Catholicism's supporter - it strongly criticizes the Church and actively supports the LGBT lobby) considered the museum "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder" a compromising scandal and revealed its reasons: the museum does not care enough about 'cultural diversity and inclusion' and there are too few people among the staff who are non-white skin-colored and of completely different origin than Dutch.

I say 'completely different' because the museum described in the grant application that it cares about increasing the cultural diversity of its staff and employs a lot of staff of 'non-Western' background. The city's AFK fund committee, however, concluded that this was not enough - they were to be non-white and of "totally different than Dutch" origin, and found the management's plans to "increase diversity" among staff unconvincing and vague.

If any of you would like to see it with your own eyes, I provide links to the article in DDS and the decisions of the AFK committee: /

It is worth adding that the city of Amsterdam, governed by a coalition of several left-wing and extreme-left parties, regularly transfers large sums of money to immigrant activists - Muslim and African - who fight old Dutch traditions such as welcoming Santa Claus (more about the fight against Santa Claus, which has already spread to the whole of the Netherlands, in the text: "The public enemy: Santa Claus, or an allusive column"), promote Communist ideas or organize demonstrations of many thousands of "Black Lives Matter" in the middle of a lockdown and without observing the sanitary safety rules. Mosques and other Islamic institutions are also receiving various grants, and their numbers continue to grow as Islam is currently the largest religion in the Dutch capital.

The problem of the continuing removal of traces of Christianity from the public life of the Netherlands has existed for a long time and not since yesterday (some time ago I also wrote about the removal - at the request of Muslims - of advertisements for the great exhibition of Caravaggio's paintings in Utrecht, because they had too "Christian" themes. The authorities turn a blind eye" and "Islamization of Dutch students is no longer a taboo subject") but recently it has clearly increased. Just a few days ago, a storm swept through the Dutch media, accusing the institutions responsible for the care of monuments of spending too much money on renovating churches instead of secular monuments (although it is hard not to notice that churches are just usually a very large part of the oldest and most valuable monuments). Fortunately, it quickly quieted down because, unlike the leftist governments of many cities, the state authorities of the Netherlands have some common sense against neo-Marxist, African and Islamic extremists' demands.

One can only hope that also in the case of a capital sentence for the museum of the hidden Amsterdam church "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder" representatives of the relevant state authorities will intervene. A good omen is the fact that the decision of the Amsterdam authorities caused outrage in the Dutch media and a storm of angry comments on internet forums. But the only truly effective tool would be international pressure. The matter must be publicized as much as possible, not only in Poland, but also in more important countries around the world, and I am asking you for help in this.

Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder documents the persecution of an excluded minority that has become an even smaller minority in Amsterdam today: Catholics are only a few percent, all Christians are around 20%. One might therefore expect that, in line with EU and leftist slogans, their cultural heritage will be protected by the city authorities. Unfortunately, it turns out - as is usually the case with the left - that the beautiful slogans of protection, equality, inclusiveness, tolerance, etc. apply only to their "own" - "more equal" and "ideologically correct", and not to all citizens.