The rich history of Armenians in Netherlands and Belgium

  • by Western Armenia, February 22, 2024 in Ancient History

The Armenian community in Amsterdam was small at first. About 800 Armenian names appear in the notarial deeds of the city's municipality in the years 1600-1800.

The community reached its demographic peak in 1668, when 66 Armenian clans can be counted. Wealthy Armenians imitated Amsterdam's elite by ordering gold and silver birth and marriage medals with Armenian inscriptions of births and marriages.

The Armenian Church of Amsterdam

The first Armenian priest was invited to Amsterdam to conduct religious ceremonies in private homes in 1665.

The notarial record, which dates back to 1703, refers to the hidden Armenian church in Koningsdvarsstraat.

On January 30, 714, the authorities gave Armenians permission to build an official church building visible from the street. In May 1714, 40 Armenian merchants financed the conversion of two warehouses on the Krombumslot waterfront in the center of Amsterdam into an Armenian church.

In 1749, the outer entrance was decorated with a monumental stone and an Armenian text, which was privately financed by the Armenian priest Johannes de Minas.

After serving its purpose for about a century and a half, this building was closed due to the dwindling of its congregation. In 1874, by order of the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin, the building was sold for 10,000 florins. After that, a Catholic pre-school for girls operated in the building for more than a century. After the Second World War, the Armenian community of Amsterdam began to grow, and the Armenians bought the building back in 1989, and today it still functions as an Armenian church in the center of Amsterdam.