The organisation Alde Fryske Tsjerken will even allow the students of religious cultural heritage to stay in the churches
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, the organisation responsible for maintaining Friesland’s vast array of historic churches will be receiving a group of international students in the coming days. The students will consider new ways of using the churches, taking inspiration from there home countries (many of which have no issues of empty churches).
The programme is being run by several organisations, including the University of Groningen. “Participants will consider, for example, what we can do with empty churches that are no longer being used for services”, says Hester Simons of Alde Fryske Tsjerken, “what route can these churches take, and what does it mean to use the churches for museum-like functions?”
Before coming to Friesland, the programme had begun in Amsterdam, and the students will also be heading to Groningen to further consider the ongoing meaning of religious and cultural artifacts, such as churches. Yesterday evening the students were even able to stay overnight in the village churches in Blessum, Boksum, Peins; and Swichum.
The church at Jorwert will host a symposium later this week called “Church Life and Heritage: Religious Communities of Village Churches”, says Simons.
Many of the participants have expressed surprise that a church could fall out of use: “in the countries that the students are from, it is often the case that a new spiritual movement takes over the buildings, in order to use them as meeting places.”
It is hoped that the students will fall in love with the buildings, and return to visit them in the future.
Image: the Nieuwe Kerk in Groningen