Bovenkerk (Kampen, NETHERLANDS)

Bovenkerk (Kampen, NETHERLANDS)



Ahhhh.... memories of a past life, when concerts were still a very regular event! In the Netherlands, you often find orchestral and choir concert in the large churches of the Lutheran or Reformed splinters of Christianity. Actually, this concert was from September 2020, when there was a brief period of concerts without too many restrictions being allowed. You had to have distanced audience and musicians, but there were no upper limits on the audience or total capacity. That meant that it was still feasible to have large ensemble concerts. These days, we are back to the more strict regulations... which means that audience and ensemble numbers are severely limited and thus making these concerts completely unviable.

Anyway, the Bovenkerk is a large cathedral in the Dutch town of Kampen in the province of Overijssel. It's quite an interesting and amusing name for a church, as it translates literally to "Above-church". I suspect that that has something to do with the heaven....

It is constructed primarily from stone, which gives the building a lovely acoustic to play in... if you manage to place the ensemble correctly. Otherwise, it can be full of confusing echoes. Even still, I do wonder what the experience is like for the audience, I often find that listening to music in these large wet acoustics to be quite a confusing experience personally.

The church was built over several centuries, beginning in the 12th century and finally being completed in the late 15th century! Unfortunately, the surrounding houses and shops have come quite close to the church building... which makes it next to impossible to get a decent camera shot of the outside of the building.




One of the main features of the church is the great organ... a lovely ornate construction facing the alter (on the entrance side of the church). Interestingly enough, I see little hints of Greek mythology in the decorations...




As always, I am always intrigued by the ceiling decorations in these buildings. Most of the Lutheran churches are quite bare in comparison to their Catholic cousins. However, this did have some interesting designs that emphasised the stone and beam work on the incredibly high ceiling.




On the alter side of the church, there is a smaller (haha, it is still pretty big...) organ that can be used for choirs singing in services. The closer proximity meant that the church choir and the organist would have some more direct connection... instead of being separated by about a hundred metres!




In many of these churches, there are pretty bare walls... in keeping with the less materialistic bent of the Lutheran and Reformation churches in their rejecting of the excesses of the Catholic faith. However, in more recent years some types of modern art have been introduced into the buildings.... often with mixed results. For instance, this corner which had been cleared to make way for these iron/steel squiggly pieces of art?




Much more interesting for me (although a touch on the creepy side of things...) was the fact that people of note were often buried under the church floor and the stone floor would be carved with details of their internment. Much of it is in old Dutch, so I do find it quite difficult to make out the message and the meaning, but these stones are quite liberally spread throughout the church. This particular stone dates from 1742 and shows the signs of wearing over the many centuries of people walking over it!


Originally published on my HIVE/STEEM blog!


I am a Musician (Violinist/Violist) specialising in Early Music living in The Netherlands. I have a background in Mathematics and Physics due to an earlier tertiary level study... and so, I'm still quite interested in Science and Technology related stuff!

The Glamorous Life of a Musician!
The Glamorous Life of a Musician!

Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life! I'm a Violinist and doing what I love is often interestingly contrasted with the reality of getting to do what I love...

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