Our start and end point the Stevenskerk will start a pilot with an entrance fee of €2 from the 1st of August. Pilgrims who start or finish their journey can enter for free. Note: this new situation will not be clear to all volunteers right away, but as a pilgrim you can refer to the information folder that is behind their counter.

Why an entrance fee?
The Stevenskerk is facing major expenses on maintenance and sustainability. She receives a subsidy of 5.5 million euros from the government for this, providing that the church itself supplements the amount with 2.3 million euros. The foundation is given 10 years to do this. In order not to become too dependent on subsidy providers, the foundation wants to investigate with this pilot of asking entrance fee whether it can achieve a higher personal contribution for the planned projects.

After the pilot ends (1st of December), an evaluation will take place. Therefore it is not yet possible to say whether the entrance fee will become a permanent measure. The hope is that most visitors are willing to contribute to the preservation of the beautiful monument from 1273 with their visit.

As Walk of Wisdom, we pay for the minor maintenance of the church one day a year via the Steveniers contribution of € 365. As a thank you to the hospitality of the church for WoW pilgrims we have transferred €300 extra this week. If you can miss something when you walk past the donation column: all bits help!!

Stevenskerk, by Bart Kouwenberg
Let friendship heal what divide  - Walk of Wisdom berg en dal
Let friendship heal what borders divide- Walk of Wisdom berg en dal
“Let friendship heal what borders divide. Border landmark, Walk of Wisdom, Berg en Dal.

Since recently pilgrims from Belgium can register for the Dutch Walk of Wisdom at the information point of the Compostela society in Mechelen without postage. When they register via the Dutch website, they only have to pay the Dutch postage rate and no longer the more expensive international rate. The Belgian pilgrim colleagues will then send the starter pack!

We are happy with this expansion: we think it is important that the journey is also accessible to people with modest financial means. Thanks to the Flemish Compostela Society, the financial threshold to walk the Walk of Wisdom Netherlands is now a lot lower.

The number of pilgrims from Belgium has been increasing steadily lately. They are exclusively from Flanders, which is probably due to the languages of our starter package: Dutch or English. We hope that a few of the Flemish pilgrims will become enthusiastic about the idea behind the trip. Who knows, someday a Walk of Wisdom Belgium will come from it.

It is our ambition to start a route in three other countries in Europe in the coming years, such as our own Walk of Wisdom around Nijmegen. We cannot do that ourselves: as a volunteer organization we want to stay small and simply lack the local knowledge to do something like that well anywhere else. But we can dream: a round of 125 to 150 kilometers through a beautiful area that has not yet been milked by tourism. In Belgium, preferably a round that crosses the language border as a gesture of fraternization!

Adress info point Mechelen: Frederik de Merodestraat 18, Mechelen. Open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More.

Photo border landmark “Let friendship heal what borders divide”. (Laat vriendschap helen wat grenzen delen.) by Gerda (Pilgrim 2460).   Foto grenspaal “Laat vriendschap helen wat grenzen delen”, door Gerda (pelgrim 2460). Meer.