< 59 / 63 >
Image Info Hide

St Peter’s Kerk Belfry  /

“Places matter. Their rules, their scale, their design include or exclude civil society, pedestrianism, equality, diversity (economic and otherwise), understanding of where water comes from and garbage goes, consumption or conservation. They map our lives.”

― Rebecca Solnit - Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics

Church towers are almost always the ideal place to start a journey into a new place, high enough to get some perspective over a town but deliberately within it. Get too high and you become an external observer but the ideal church tower was always meant to maintain the bond between buildings and people – a structure present in the landscape – a lasting reminder of the almighty presence over the city – simultaneously reassuring and controlling.

When encountering any new environment there is an innate desire to orientate oneself within it. We almost always start with maps - a bird’s eye view removed from the disorientating dead ends and narrowing passageways of street level that allow you to feel in some control when lost – at least you know which direction to head.

But maps are paradoxical.

By imagining a supernatural position there is a tendency to think of maps as tools outside of the day-to-day that simply present the landscape - removed from the ground-level skirmishes of identity politics that are usually played out across less visible lines. Yet, people use maps to define themselves, to decide where they’re from, to determine how they should behave.

Even as the tallest tower in Limburg St Peter’s Church still feels vitally connected to the city. Inside the tower walls there is a strange space for meditation on the world outside. Just below the bells that mark the town’s christenings, funerals, nuptials and time, the undulating curves behind the grand vaulted ceilings appear in the half-light like poorly buried remains waiting to be exhumed and investigated. With the hum of the city clearly audible outside and the ticking of the church clock present there’s a feeling that just beneath the surface it’s possible to access something essential and important about the place – but only by approaching it with fresh eyes and seeking out those spaces that conceal different stories, ones that can be created and owned by the people.

< Back to  Secret Cities

St Peterís Kerk Belfry Secret Cities Sittard Geleen