It very well could be the next social media trend: sleeping under pews, or where the alter stood
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Sleeping in unusual locations to get an incredible picture is not new, however social media apps such as Instagram have really thrown ‘experience tourism’ into focus.
From next year, tourists in Friesland will be able to join in with this sleep/snap phenomenon: there will be ‘pop-up hotel rooms’ appearing in churches across the province. “The term hotel rooms is maybe a little mis-leading, because we aren’t actually making any rooms”, says Jennemie Stoelhorst, speaking for the exceptionally-named company Heilige Nachten (Holy Nights).
The sleeping-spots will be made in existing spaces within the churches that are participating. This has been done so that there won’t be any building work or permanent alterations to the historic churches. “However you will still get the church to yourself”, said Stoelhorst.
One of the outcomes of this new idea is that churches can raise money, and this will then be given to the church leadership, who can use it for maintenance and preservation of the church buildings. In Brabant, the company is experimenting with a near-church hotel: “right now, we have a church in use in Brabant, where people sleep in a heated, transparent dome.” The church-hotel also has a place to sit and wonder at the surroundings, naturally with a cup of tea of coffee.
According to Stoelhorst, the project has a lot of potential in the province of Friesland, and the organisation are very happy with the extra 45,000 euro grant they have received from the provincial authority. “Fantastic, we are absolutely delighted and very thankful that the province wants to join us on this adventure”, says Stoelhorst.
The organisation is now in conversation with a number of churches, but they are also looking for more and more special church buildings that might like to participate. The first Holy Night will take place in March.