With energy prices soaring and temperatures dropping, heating your home is no longer fun these days. Churches also suffer from this. Because such a huge space, you just don’t heat it up. So it stays cool in many churches, even during the busy Christmas days. “We advise people to dress warmly,” says the director of the Grote Kerk in Breda.
A tour of several churches in our county shows that the heating is often turned on especially for Christmas. But completely heating those large buildings is very difficult. In the Grote Kerk in Breda, for example, the temperature will not rise more than eighteen degrees. “We can get hot, but we’re reluctant given current prices,” says director Marieke Weigel.
Grote Kerk Hotel has underfloor heating. A real tactic has been put in place to warm the entire room. “We start heating three days in advance. Then a big fan runs all night to distribute the heat throughout the room,” Weigel explains.
It won’t get too hot though. “If you open the doors for half an hour, you actually lose about three degrees. So it’s hard.” To keep visitors warm, about three hundred blankets were stocked. “We expect a little more people at Christmas, so we advise people to dress warmly. We do it for all occasions,” says Weigel.
“During the day the stove is at ten degrees.”
The heating is also turned on at Sint Catharinakerk in Eindhoven, but visitors are advised to keep their coats on. “During the day the stove is set to ten degrees, but with concerts and church celebrations on Sundays, we turn it up a bit,” explains manager Laurens Mulkens. Visitors can observe about sixteen degrees during the Christmas celebrations. “It was agreed with the parish that the hearth should be lit during Christmas.”
The heating in the basilica in Oudenbosch is usually turned off. “But he will definitely come at Christmas,” says secretary Jan Bidav. “How hot it is depends a bit on the outside temperature. But I think it will be about 17 degrees in the church.”
It is not necessary to kindle the fire ahead of time in both churches. “Our stove is programmed, so it automatically ensures it heats up at a certain time. It usually starts heating up a few hours early,” explains Mulkins.
“It’s also part of the charm.”
If you go to church in Waalwijk or Den Bosch, it’s smart to dress warmly. In the church of Sint Jan de Doper in Walwick, the temperature never rises more than twelve degrees. “People know they have to dress warmly, we’ve made that clear,” says sexton Anton van Delft.
“The cold of winter is part of St. John’s charm.”
In St. John’s Cathedral in Den Bosch, the heating is not turned on at all. In fact, the church has no heating at all. “We never had that,” says Balban Vincent Bloom. “The building is too big, and it’s impossible to do it. It’s not good for all the old wood carvings in the church.” Commoners are not worried about people shivering during midnight mass. “Everyone just knows that the church has no heating. Some people bring their own blankets. It’s also part of the charm of Sint-Jean that it’s cold in winter.”
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