Ice skaters on Prinsengracht, Amsterdam

Ice skaters enjoying the late afternoon sun on Prinsengracht.  

In the distance is the Westertoren — the most sung-about church tower in the Netherlands.  In the diary of her life during the Second World War, Anne Frank wrote that she could hear the bells of the Westerkerk. 
The house where she and her family hid during the occupation is just a stone’s throw away from the Westerkerk.

Amsterdam Old Church at sunset

The tower of Amsterdam’s oldest church — the Old Church (Oude Kerk, in Dutch) — silhouetted in the late afternoon winter sky.

Actually, the Old Church is the oldest building in Amsterdam. It was built in several phases between some time around 1300 and 1578. Every time there was enough money the church was expanded a bit.

The oldest part of the church is the tower, but at some point a new tower was built around it.

The Old Church was dedicated to St. Nicholas, a Catholic saint from Turkey. Some 1700 years ago he was bishop of Myra. He is said to have performed many miracles.

One of his alleged miracles was saving three seaman during a bad storm by guiding them into the harbor of Myra. From that time on many harbor cities, Amsterdam included, built a church in his honor.