Built on the banks of Prinsengracht Canal in the 17th century, Amsterdam’s Westerkerk is famous for three things: sky-high views of Amsterdam from the top of its spire, Rembrandt's grave, and Anne Frank's ties to the church.
Designed by star architect Hendrick de Keyser in the Dutch Renaissance style, the Protestant church's spire reaches 85 meters, making it the highest structure in Amsterdam's old city. From the viewing platform halfway up the tower, you'll get panoramic views right across town. And from outside the church, look up at the bell tower to see the blue imperial crown of Habsburg emperor Maximilian I at its top — it was bestowed on the city as a coat of arms in 1489.
Rembrandt’s paintings may fetch tens of millions today, but he died bankrupt in 1669 and was buried in an unmarked grave, typical for the very poor, at Westerkerk, so that no one quite knows this exact location of his final resting place where he lies buried along with his wife and son.
On Sundays, you’ll hear the 50 church bells of Westerkerk ring out across the neighborhood, and Anne Frank, who for two years hid from Nazi persecution in an attic just around the corner from the church, wrote in her wartime diaries that the sound of the bells and view of the clock tower from her attic window brought her comfort.
Westerkerk is a 5- to 10-minute walk west from Dam Square, and Carillon recitals take place on Fridays, generally at 1pm. Entry to the church tower is by guided tour only (April to October), which run every 30 minutes every day but Sunday. The viewing platform can only be reached by fairly steep stairs, and children must be 6 or older to enter. Tickets cost €7.50 per person.