The Oude Kerk ("old church") is Amsterdams oldest parish church, consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.
The bust of famous organist and composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck celebrates the lifetime he spent playing here. His early career began at the age of fifteen when he succeeded his deceased father Pieter Swybertszoon as the Oude Kerks organist. He went on to compose music for all 150 psalms and secure an international reputation as a leading Dutch composer. His music would also be played over the city from the churchs bell tower. He is buried in the church.
The church has seen a number of renovations performed by 15 generations of Amsterdam citizens. The church stood for only half a century before the first alterations were made, the aisles lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. Not long after the turn of the 15th century, north and south transepts were added to the church creating a cross formation. Work on these renovations was completed in 1460, though it is likely that progress was largely interrupted by the great fires that besieged the city in 1421 and 1452.