Pilgrims in Amsterdam
Each year in March pilgrims flock in their thousands to Amsterdam to take part in de Stille Omgang, a silent procession through the Amsterdam’s Old Centre. This procession takes place on 12 March or the first Saturday after this date.
The Host Undamaged by the Ashes 1518 – Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen
Amsterdam – Pilgrimage Centre
Tradition has it that on 15 March 1345 a dying man was administered the last rites. After receiving the host he became sick. The vomit was thrown into the fire but the next day the host lay undamaged in the ashes. A priest put the host into a box and brought it to the parish church, today’s Oude Kerk. But the box miraculously found its way back to the sick man’s house. It was brought back to the church, but again went back to the house. This was seen as a miraculous sign and Amsterdam became the centre of pilgimage.
This pilgrimage tradition is still being observed today. The Silent Procession begins with Holy Mass at the Church at Begijnhof (just off Kalverstraat), followed by the Silent Procession from midnight to 4 am. The procession is held in absolute silence, no singing, no praying, no religious attributes and no clerical attire. It takes one hour to complete the procession route. Individual groups celebrate mass in their own parish church and then walk the route. This means that there is not one big procession but several groups of people at different times but always between midnight and 4 am.