The Dutch Church, Austin Friars (Dutch: Nederlandse Kerk Londen) is a reformed church in the Broad Street Ward, in the City of London. Located on the site of the 13th-century Augustinian friary, the original building granted to Protestant refugees for their church services in 1550 was destroyed during the London Blitz.
The present church was built between 1950 and 1954 and is a familiar landmark in the Broad Street Ward. With the founding of the church dating to 1550, it is the oldest Dutch-language Protestant church in the world, and as such is known in The Netherlands as the mother church of all Dutch reformed churches.
By 1570, the Dutch community was the largest group of expatriates in London, numbering 5,000 out of the 100,000 total population of the time. About half of the Dutch in London were Protestants who fled the Flemish Low Countries due to religious persecution. Others were skilled craftsman, including brewers, tile makers, weavers, artists, printers and engravers, who came to England for economic opportunities. Engraver Martin Droeshout, famous for his 1623 portrait of William Shakespeare, was among the Flemish Protestant emigrants who arrived in London.
A century later, the arrival of William of Orange brought a second wave of Dutch emigrants to London. This second group included noblemen, bankers, courtiers, merchants, architects and artists.
The foundation stone of the new church was laid on 23 July 1950 by the 10-year-old Princess Irene of the Netherlands. The new church, built to the design of Arthur Bailey, was completed in 1954. The new building is a concrete box frame, externally clad in Portland stone. The church possesses detailed archives, and is a popular tourist attraction.
The church remains active today, with weekly Dutch-language church services, confirmation classes, and meetings for various groups. The church also does outreach to the Dutch community in London, including ministering to the elderly. The church is home to two other UK registered charities: The Netherlands Benevolent Society (NBS) and The Dutch Centre. On 24 April 2015, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands was honorary guest in the Dutch Church for a jubilee celebration to mark 150 years since the founding of the NBS.
In April 2014, the current minister of the Dutch Church, Rev. Joost Röselaers, confirmed that the Dutch Church is able to perform weddings for same-sex couples.