Westerkerk (Dutch pronunciation: [ʋɛstərkɛrk]; English: Western Church) is a Dutch Protestant church in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It is next to Amsterdam's Jordaan district, on the bank of the Prinsengracht canal. Several older churches in Amsterdam, such as Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk, were originally built by Roman Catholics and were converted to Protestantism during the Reformation in 1578. The Westerkerk was one of the first purposely built Protestant churches. The Noorderkerk and Zuiderkerk preceded the Westerkerk. Today the Westerkerk remains the largest church in the Netherlands that was built for Protestants.
There was no organ when the Westerkerk was consecrated on Whit Sunday in 1631. According to Calvinism, playing instrumental music inside the church was still considered 'popish' in those days. It took many years of consultation until an organ was finally allowed. At first there was still talk of moving the organ used in the Oude Kerk or the Zuiderkerk, but in 1681 the Westerkerk decided on commissioning organ builder Roelof Barentszn Duyschot for the construction of a new organ. The organ was named after its builder.
On Christmas Day in 1686, Jurriaan Bouff from Leiden was the first person to play the organ during a church service. He used to play three times on every Sunday (in those days, as many as four church services were held on a Sunday). He would also play on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as on days of thanksgiving and prayer. The organ panels were made by Gerard de Lairesse. De Lairesse was born in Liège in 1640 and he moved to the Netherlands in 1664. In the second half of the 17th Century, he was one of the most popular painters in the Netherlands.