Groundbreaking LGBT+ Exhibition in the Old Lutheran Church

The centuries-old Old Lutheran Church is opening its doors to a powerful message of inclusion and acceptance. This paves the way for a daring exhibition featuring the work of artist Arjan Spannenburg, who shines a spotlight on LGBT+ acceptance.


The event, which kicks off during Pride on July 19, will take place over three weekends on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The public is not only invited to view the exhibition but also to visualize their stance by participating in an interactive artwork.


Historically, religious communities and the rainbow community have often been at odds. The choice of the Old Lutheran Church as a location is deliberate and symbolic. More than 50 years ago, the Lutheran congregation in Amsterdam appointed an openly gay minister, one of the first religious communities in the world to do so. This groundbreaking step stemmed from the belief that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for every person. Therefore, LGBT+ individuals have been able to be full members of this community for decades.


The Lutheran Church community is painfully aware that many religious organizations in this world unfortunately do not provide a safe space for the rainbow community. Therefore, they want visitors of this exhibition to experience that it can be different: that people are welcome in the church with body and soul. Additionally, this exhibition in a church is also a powerful statement by the Art That Matters foundation: acceptance and inclusivity are universal values, regardless of the setting.


“You don’t always have to agree on everything; there are plenty of other subjects in which you can find common ground.” - Arjan Spannenburg


Arjan Spannenburg is known for his poignant artworks that highlight social themes. His work challenges viewers to pause and consider prejudices and discrimination, inspiring change. This exhibition, focused on LGBT+ acceptance, is no exception. The artworks invite reflection and discussion and celebrate the diversity of human experience.


The exhibition consists of four locations within the church, each with a different theme:

  1. The Church Hall: Here, artworks are displayed that link homosexuality and religion, inspired by John the Baptist and Saint Sebastian. These works explore the complexity and history of sexual diversity within religious contexts.
  2. The Pastor’s Hallway: This space features the series "ESTRANGED," which deals with young people who have become estranged from themselves over time due to their gender or sexuality. These artworks reflect on the personal and emotional journeys of these young people.
  3. The Tetterode Library: This room houses a diversity of works, including an interactive artwork that challenges and raises awareness among visitors about their power and influence regarding LGBT rights. This piece invites active participation and self-reflection, challenging visitors to consider their own role in society.
  4. The (closed) Senate Hall:Here, some more explicit works are displayed that convey deeper feelings of desire. These artworks offer an intimate and sometimes confrontational look at the inner experiences of LGBT individuals.


In addition to the artworks themselves, various events will be organized to stimulate dialogue, including reflection meetings and, upon request, interactive tours where the artist will explain his work and the message behind it.



The exhibition will be festively opened on July 19 between 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM with a ceremony where the artist and church representatives will engage in dialogue, interspersed with live music. Furthermore, a symbolic rainbow flag will be raised to emphasize the message of inclusion and acceptance.


Come and experience this unique exhibition that brings art and community together in the beautiful and historic setting of the Old Lutheran Church.

Singel 411, 1012 WN Amsterdam, Netherlands