Empty churches big business in Holland

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The growing number of churches no longer serving as such has led to a renovation boom, a national heritage foundation says.

As a result of the ongoing secularisation, only 7,000 of Holland’s 19,000 churches are still being used for worship. The other 12,000 have been given a new function or are on sale, according to the foundation.

“Giving old buildings such as churches a new lease on life also fits with sustainability trends”, the foundation says. And companies can distinguish themselves by moving into a church. “In Maastricht, for example, a former monastery now houses a bookshop.”

Reliplan specialises in selling heritage monuments including churches. The state agent operates in the Netherlands as well as Germany, Belgium and other European countries. Over the past 20 years it has sold some 900 Dutch churches that acquired a new role, often a cultural one. The company currently has 63 churches on offer in the Netherlands. cl

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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