By the end of 2019, the historic main entrance to the Martinikerk will be open to the public once again.
According to director of the Martinikerk Foundation, Hans van der Zee, the doors should be open again at some point before the end of 2019. “We still need to sort out the technology for registering the visitors coming in to ensure that there aren’t too many people inside at the same time, but we will be able to do that between now and late 2019.”
The metal turnstiles currently at the base of the Martinitoren will be removed and replaced with an electronic access system to make the entrance more accessible for everyone. The church expects to be able to bring in more visitors as a result: currently, around 12,000 people visit the church annually.
The Groninger Internet Courant reports that the entrance to the church had not been in use for three decades, but it was the grand doorway into the church for hundreds of years prior to that.
The plans to reopen the main doors are a collaborative effort among Marketing Groningen, the Groningen Safety Region and the Martinikerk Foundation, which was founded in 1975. The foundation oversees the accommodations for Protestant church services on site, maintains the building’s historic architecture and raises funds for refurbishment. The foundation will cover the costs involved in reopening the doors once the necessary permits are approved.
The church is set to undergo some other thoroughly modern changes in the coming months. A crowdfunding campaign by Marketing Groningen raised nearly 57,000 euros to create a small screening space inside the Martinitoren itself, as well as a pop-up restaurant 70 meters up the tower. The tower itself is also meant to be used as part of a fitness boot camp and to host intimate acoustic concerts.