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.
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.”
Luc Van Hilst
Parish priest of Scherpenheuvel
Industrial designer - Project manager