De Groene Kathedraal (1996)

Marinus Boezem

Squarely set within Flevoland’s geometric polder is a ‘Gothic’ cathedral. No sky-high stone vaults, stained glass windows or echoing corridors, but a cathedral made of trees. Marinus Boezem developed his Gothic Growing Project in 1978. In 1987, by invitation of the Rijksdienst IJsselmeerpolders, he planted 178 Italian poplars according to the ground plan of the Notre-Dame of Reims. Between the trees, concrete paths have been laid out, reminiscent of the ribs of the cross vaults.

Much like the Gothic cathedral, Boezem sees the creation of Flevoland as the pinnacle of human achievement. On the parallel plot, he left open the outline of the cathedral in a forest of oak and hornbeam hedges. In this ‘contra-cathedral’, the floor plan is marked with concrete tiles instead of poplars.

Artist: Marinus Boezem (1934)
Title: De Groene Kathedraal
Start planting: 16 April 1987
Unveiling: 1996
Area: 150 x 75 meter
Materials: Italian poplars (Popolus Nigra Italica), stone, concrete, shells
Location: Kathedralenpad (approach from Tureluurweg), Almere
Commissioned by: Rijksdienst voor de IJsselmeerpolders
Managed by: municipality of Almere and Staatsbosbeheer