The Marian pilgrimage town of Scherpenheuvel has existed for 400 years and remains the most popular pilgrimage town in the Benelux. Many pilgrims light a candle for the Virgin Mary during their visit. This age-old popular devotion is flourishing once more, despite the harsh climate the Church is currently experiencing. Visitors light a candle in remembrance, to ask a question, or to reflect on something. There is a story behind every candle that is lit. The votive candle chapels symbolise the union with Mary. People are not alone in their joy, their worries or their grief.

Both their form and function are fully designed to provide 'a soothing encounter with Mary'.

The construction is clearly divided between areas used by pilgrims and areas used for maintenance and service. There is a strict division between both main functions (front end and back end), meaning that quick maintenance does not interfere with the intimate and unmediated experience of offering a candle. The chapel also has clear instructions for its use built into its design.
Special day candles were developed for the chapel. Thanks to the Marian crown at the top, they are perfect for burning outside. The cardboard lids serve as intention cards and enable people to share their stories with Mary.

Marian symbolism and integration

The pattern of the rear wall depicts a rosebush, the symbol of Mary, much like the arctic starflower and the private garden surrounding the Basilica. Thanks to the perforated rear wall, among others, the chapel fits in seamlessly with the private garden. The outer structure, made from weathering steel, refers to the ubiquitous ferrous sandstone on the site.
The chapels are developed in collaboration with Studio Roma.

“Caring for burning candles expresses Mary's care for everyone who comes to her.”

“The purest experiences arise when each functional component is 100% in its place. The serenity of this design encourages personal (religious) experiences in a public place.”