When in Belgium: Doorkijkkerkje

Exquisite Design

I prefer nature over architecture. Always! Something about spontaneity I guess. As a matter of fact you will rarely find me chasing down local churches during city trips. But there are a few exceptions: Reading Between the Lines, a church sculpture in Borgloon, Belgium, is one of them. It blends beautifully with the green landscape, not blocking the view. Quite extraordinary. Reading between the lines is an art project designed in 2011, by the Belgian architect duo, known as Gijs Van Vaerenbergh: (Pieterjan Gijs + Arnout Van Vaerenbergh). The See through Church, or ‘Doorkijkkerkje’ in Dutch is situated in Borgloon, Belgium and is open for visit 24/7. The building, inspired on the design of a local church, consists of 30 tons of steel and 2000 columns, and is built on a fundament of armed concrete.

Different View from Every Angle

According to the architect, the sculpture isn’t intended to make any religious statement. Instead, the space in between the form is meant to leave room for interpretation. A church can be the crux of one’s life, or simply a physical structure that blends into its surroundings, he claims. Speaking of surroundings… It takes a little effort to find the place. The navigation system only takes me to the main road. From there I follow the signs and walk through the pear and apple gardens, a magnificent countryside landscape, for about 15 minutes. Up my right the church finally appears. It looks so tiny in real life! Soon I realise this eye catcher looks different form every single angle therefor it can actually appear bigger than it really is. The longer I look at it, the more amazed I am. Such a stunning  piece of art, especially when you see the sun set behind it.

  • Keep in mind it’s not a real church, there are not benches inside, you can easily walk in and out and sit in the grass, like I did.
  • There is no toilet or such in the neighbourhood, for that you need to rush back to town.
  • No entrance fees or reservation are applicable.
  • Dogs are allowed to enter.
  • Cars can’t reach the church, they are not allowed to drive in the countryside lane, bikes yes.
  • Fun fact, when it gets dark you will be able to see the church of Borgloon peeking through.
How the church sculpture was made: