The St. Olofs Chapel was built around the year 1440, and was named after the Norwegian king Olof because of the close trade relations Amsterdam had with Norwegia at that time. In the course of the centuries the chapel has had a lot of functions. In 1966 it was partly destroyed by fire, in which the roofs from the Middle Ages and 17th century were lost. For safety part of the façade was torn down and a temporary roof was placed. The tombstone floor was covered by a layer of sand and concrete. In this sad condition the building marked the head of the Zeedijk for years. This area has the attention of the city, in the combat against degradation.
After several failed plans for restoration, the Golden Tulip Barbizon Palace hotel was found as tenant, who wanted to use the chapel as a conference center for their new hotel across the street, which was to be opened in 1993. The restoration of the chapel was the starting point of a large scale upgrade of the neighbourhood.
The restoration of 1990-1992
The immense restoration was started in 1990. Focus of the plans was, that the original silhouette of the chapel was returned. The original interior was also restored as much as possible, the tombstone floor, a reconstruction of the wooden beams in the ceiling and the old window frames.
Between the hotel and the former chapel an underground passage was built to connect the two, a cellar was added. The new conference center has a surface of 350 m² and can be used for receptions (more than 500 people) and conferences (275 people).
The Total costs of the restoration were € 3 million, of which the State and the city contributed the half in subsidies.
Unfortunately, the doors of the Chapel on the Zeedijk/streetlevel are most of the time closed, so the experience of this old chapel will escape the attention of the passing audience. If you have the opportunity to take a look inside via the Barbizon Hotel, you can judge for yourself this hidden beauty.