Our start and end point, the Stevenskerk, is open again (weekends)


Our start and end point, the Stevenskerk, will be accessible again free of charge in March on weekends (with the exception of 20/21 March) and from April also during the week. You may meet volunteer Gijs Hoogenboom behind the desk, who recently experienced a reprint of his own pilgrim guide: Looking with different eyes, a pilgrimage through the city center of Nijmegen. He wrote it with Pieter Niesten of the Jacobs Chapel, based on the work of the Sister Claris Jo Overbeek. You can get it for a few euros at the counter.

The pilgrim leaves his home and safety,
Travels alone or with others
On the way to the longest tour:
The journey inwards.

K. Waaijman/L. Aarnink and Others

It’s a thin book, but according to both of them, it’s not about the information. It offers a walking tour of the city’s religious life, from church to mosque, artwork and synagogue. Practical route directions are supplemented with short texts that open up something of the experience of that place.

Gijs: “You can walk it in 2 or 3 hours at a marching pace, but then you haven’t understood anything.” Pieter: “The invitation is not to just walk past those places or just stand in front of them, but to get closer to them.”

It is fascinating that such a way of walking has nothing to do with faith for Gijs personally, but it does for Pieter.

Gijs: “It’s something universal. Those places exude the feeling that you are allowed to be there as a human being, that you are welcome.” Gijs perks up when people light a candle in the church, as if confirming that welcome to themselves and others. He would stop immediately if there was an entrance fee in the Stevenskerk. “It’s about the hospitality. It is of great value.”

Pieter: “For me, it’s more. People need something spiritual, places of faith or art can give shape to that.”

Pieter contributed to the publication on behalf of the Jacob’s Chapel, because according to him it fits in well with the mission of the chapel to go together on the way to the floor, that journey inwards. The chapel itself is also on the route, a 750-year-old gem, hidden in the city center. Fitting symbol for the shortcut.

Gijs: “my favourite is the Labyrinth aan de Waal”. A work of art that also includes the Walk of Wisdom at the end of the route.

Gijs: “Many churches used to have such a labyrinth. The poor people had no money to go on pilgrimage. The labyrinth in the church offered them a chance. An ancient symbol in which you cannot get lost, because there is only one road and it leads to the middle, despite bends and winding roads: the truth. In the Labyrinth in Nijmegen, the artist has created a second labyrinth the size of a pancake in the middle. The journey inside is never finished.”

Nice: Gijs’ family has lived in Nijmegen since 1657. A small piece of his wife’s tombstone is missing. Deliberately. Gijs: “life is never finished”. Truth of faith for some, a matter of inter-humanity for others.

The booklet “Pilgrimage. Looking with different eyes” is available in both the St. Jacobs Chapel and the Stevens Church for €3.95. An accompanying photo slide series has also been made with photos of people who have been asked to look at the city with different eyes. The series can be viewed on request.

For the opening hours of the Stevenskerk click here.