When an entire country evicts God, what do they do with his houses? What else, the new gods move in :

Making your home a temple is gaining new meaning in the Netherlands, where churches are being repurposed as living spaces. Since 1970 more than a thousand churches have been closed in the country, as the largely atheist population has little use for them. More than a third was demolished. The rest are simply in need of a clever architect.

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“Re-usage is the only way to prevent long-lasting vacancy or demolition of churches,” says Sien Wittevrongel of Zecc. “With St-Jakobuskerk, we tried to reinstate a dignified monument with as little intervention as possible.”

The result is a state-of-the-art model of recycling. The sleek interior gives a modern feel to vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows and a complete Jesus fresco (along with a mezzanine designed for rock concerts in the 1990s). We particularly like the chandelier in the loo.

Articles by Joe Carter

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