April 24, 2019

Utrecht’s Dom church attic open to the public

Filed under: Architecture,Dutch first,History,Religion by Orangemaster @ 11:24 pm

On 5 May, the attic of the Dom Church (“Domkerk”, in Dutch) in Utrecht will be open to the public for the very first time. And as of that date, people can enjoy one-hour tours every Sunday starting at 14:30. RTV Utrecht went and took a peek:

The Dom Church is about 32 metres high, up to the highest part of the choir vault. Half way up there’s a gallery where nobody has ever been before until now. Utrecht’s well-known symbol was once the Netherlands’ largest church, but the nave collapsed in a storm in 1674 and has never been rebuilt, leaving the tower isolated from the east end.

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September 13, 2014

Church gets new life as trampoline park in The Hague

Filed under: Religion,Sports by Branko Collin @ 1:56 pm

trampoline-park-mephis-cvbA trampoline centre in The Hague is the latest in a long list of businesses in the Netherlands to open in a former church building.

Planet Jump opened in the Martelaren van Gorcum church in The Hague earlier this month. Cheekily dubbed a ‘trampoline paradise’ by Den Haag Direct, they are open seven days a week. Have a look at the photos on their website.

Repurposing a ‘holy’ building may seem a little irreverent, but as we wrote earlier, it seems that people prefer repurposing over tearing down. These buildings have memories of baptisms, weddings and funerals attached to them, after all.

Also, in what other church could you achieve so many instant ascensions in an hour?

The name Martelaren van Gorcum means martyrs of Gorcum and refers to 19 catholic officials who were killed in 1572 by Dutch Protestant freedom fighters.

See also: The man who sells church interiors

(Photo of a trampoline park in Memphis by Memphis CVB, some rights reserved)

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October 31, 2012

Amsterdam’s Church of St. Nicholas to become a basilica

Filed under: Religion by Orangemaster @ 1:16 pm

The Church of St. Nicholas in Amsterdam, located right across from Amsterdam Central Station, is being upgraded to the status of basilica according to the Catholic church. It will be officially given the status as of 9 December, making it the 24th basilica in the country.

To be given the title of basilica, a church has to have a lot of regular clientele and has to be a unique work of architecture.

Saint-Nicholas is the patron saint of Amsterdam and of many cities worldwide, as well as the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children, and in some places, students.

(Link: www.katholieknieuwsblad.nl, Photo of Church of St Nicholas/Sint Nicolaaskerk by Judy van der Velden, some rights reserved)

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January 2, 2012

The man who sells church interiors

Filed under: Architecture,History,Religion by Branko Collin @ 3:39 pm

Two weeks ago Der Spiegel published an interview in English with Marc de Beyer, a man who sells pews and other items for churches that are closing their doors:

Marc de Beyer is an art historian in Utrecht, located about a half an hour by train from Amsterdam, but one could also call him a liquidator. He’s a man who shuts down churches. When a parish is dissolved, when a church is shuttered, de Beyer is there. And he has a lot to do.

Some 4,400 church buildings remain in the Netherlands. But each week, around two close their doors forever. This mainly affects the Catholics, who will be forced to offload half of their churches in the coming years.

See also:

(Photo: the Dominican church in Venlo was turned into a ‘cultural podium […] when the priests left the city in 2005‘. This statue of a blackfriar still reminds passers-by of the building’s original purpose.)

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June 28, 2011

Data centres in churches kept cool, churchgoers kept warm

Filed under: Design,Religion,Sustainability,Technology by Orangemaster @ 3:37 pm

Warming big old churches and cathedrals are a costly affair in the Netherlands. And when it’s too cold, sometimes they even cancel services. Sustainable consumer platform Nudge in Haarlem held a contest called ‘Holy Warming’ to collect ideas about how to warm up Sint Bavo Cathedral in a sustainable way . The winner was ‘Church on a cloud’: heat the Cathedral by putting a data centre in the cellar. The Cathedral keeps the racks cool and the computers keeps the flock warm. Amen!

(Link: bright.nl, Photo of the Saint Gertrude cathedral in Utrecht by Wikimedia user pepijntje, some rights reserved)

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November 27, 2010

Statue of angel with cell phone for Den Bosch cathedral

Filed under: Art,Religion by Branko Collin @ 12:02 pm

Sculptor Ton Mooy has revealed to Omroep Brabant that he is a working on a statue of an angel with a cell phone. (Photo and video)

The angel is to replace a worn out statue in the cathedral of Den Bosch. The cell phone will have just one button: for a straight line with God.

According to Mooy, he also wanted to give the angel jet engines, and a skirt instead of pants, but those ideas went too far for the church’s art committee, NOS Headlines reports.

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May 6, 2010

1200 churches expected to be sold in the next ten years

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 10:32 am

According to Mickey Bosschert, real estate agent for religious property, some 1200 churches in the Netherlands will be sold in the next ten years. Some of these churches will be repurposed, while others will be torn down.

The latter option tends to be resisted by citizens, Bosschert told De Pers, because so many memories of baptisms, weddings and funerals are often attached to a church. Big church buildings in the middle of a city often occupy desirable locations.

Churches go for between 0.2 and 5.5 million euro. A famous, recently repurposed church that drew international attention is the Dominikanenkerk in Maastricht (see photo), which now houses a book store. British news paper The Guardian called it the most beautiful book store in the world. That is quite the accolade, considering it is owned by a chain and the interior has that chain store look.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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August 30, 2008

A peek at the Amsterdam Begijnhof

Filed under: Architecture,History by Branko Collin @ 9:09 am

Apartment Therapy visited the 70 square metre home of American radio maker Ruth at the beguinage in Amsterdam. The complex, simply called Begijnhof (Dutch for beguinage), lies smack in the middle of the city and is open to the public. Located just off one of the busiest streets in the country, the Kalverstraat, it’s a sea of calm on the inside.

A begijnhof, or beguinage, is a secluded garden around which devout women lived a life dedicated to their faith, outside the formal structure of the church. Unlike nuns, beguines took no vows and kept any property they might have. There are dozens of former beguinages in the Low Countries. Although the houses were typically small, beguinages are still sought-after property because of their court-yard lay-out.

De Begijnhof is no longer home to beguines, but still only women live there. Should you wish to do the touristy thing, and should you be able to find De Begijnhof, access is free, and the beguinage has a couple of trumps up its sleeve other than just being there and being unique. It sports one of the two remaining wooden houses in the center of Amsterdam (1470). The panels of the pulpit of the English Church were made by Piet Mondriaan, and there’s a second, Catholic church hidden somewhere behind the gables.

Photo by Andreas Praefcke, some rights reserved.

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December 27, 2007

Court finds for noisy Tilburg pastor

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 2:55 pm

A court in Breda has found that Tilburg priest Harm Schilder is allowed to harass his neighbours by ringing his church bells far too loud at early hours. Although the court (LJN: BB8689) recognized that the city had the authority to impose fines and make rules limiting the noise levels its citizens are allowed to reach, it also pointed out that there is state law that overrules city law in this case. Specifically, the “Besluit woon- en verblijfsgebouwen milieubeheer” (Decision Housing and Living Buildings Environmental Management) states that churches are allowed to make as much noise as they want when calling the flock (“1.1.2. Excluded from determining the noise levels are […] the sound required to call one to practice their religion or life philosophy”).

Call me a cynic, but I’ve got a funny feeling that this ruling won’t stand long once the first mosque starts making use of this privilege, and the usual demagogue crowd will start howling “terrorism”.

Via BN/DeStem.

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April 11, 2007

Dutch cathedral features 9/11 stained glass window

Filed under: General,Religion by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Artist Marc Mulders was commissioned by the Church to make a stained glass window depicting an image of the World Trade Center attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. On Easter Sunday, it was blessed by a Dutch bishop. The window, made up of about 20 different panes with representations of heaven and hell, has the WTC pane at the bottom, showing “hell on earth”. The window in the Sint Jan Cathedral in Den Bosch, in the province of Noord-Brabant got worldwide media attention because of the Twin Tower image, according to pastor Geert Jan van Rossem.


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