We live in Holland for almost twelve years, all this time near Eindhoven, a rather unremarkable town in Northern Brabant (there is nothing to see here, except, perhaps, a couple of buildings from the Philips era, and even those one look increasingly ghostly). The nearest to our place really beautiful (and really Dutch) city is ‘s-Hertogenbosch (or Den Bosch), an official capital of the province, a small town with long and glorious history.
An impressive St. John’s Cathedral is one of the gems of the place, but all these twelve years it was closed for reconstruction. People got used to see it wrapped in a Cristo-like way, surrounded by the scaffolds with deconstructed sculptures and relieves. The reconstruction lasted for more than 12 years (and costed over 48 million euro), but it’s finally over, and the building is all clean and shining. We’ve been there shortly today, and I already want to go back – its towers, arcs, and walls are so richly decorated that one can walk for hours around the cathedral, reading it as a giant painting or a script.
I put a small selection of the pictures I took there to the set on Flickr (St Jon Cathedral in Den Bosh), and I will most likely add many more in the future.
Why do I write about this Gothic monument here, in a so-called ‘futuristic’ blog? There is a lovely detail added during the reconstruction that paradoxically bridges the past and the future. Ton Mooy, a Dutch sculptor who created 25 angles for the cathedral, thought that the series needs a bit of a modern twist and proposed to make the last angel with a… mobile phone (!) (and also wearing jeans instead of a long robe). There are rumors that an engine jet was also a part of earlier design, but that was too big a stretch for the fathers, I guess.
The phone allegedly has just one button. “It dials directly to God”, says the artist.
PS: I was surprised that the story about the angel is not on Wikipedia by now, and corrected this omission.