Click here to go to the main page

Dokkum (Fr): Bonifatiuskapel (H.W. Valk, 1934)

In the year 754 Boniface, bishop of Mainz, was murdered near Dokkum. The place where it happened became known as Martelaarsveld ('Martyr's field') and attracted many pilgrims, also because of its spring, the water of which was believed to be medicinal. The yearly pilgrimages continued until the reformation in 1580, but individual pilgrims visited the place for another century. A first revival of the pilgrimages occurred in 1875, but this lasted for only a decade and was mostly a Frisian occassion. In 1919 a piligrimage by bicycle was organized. A permanent revival started in 1925, with the founding of the St. Bonifatius Stichting ('St. Boniface Foundation'), which had as its goal to make Dokkum a real place of pilgrimage again. The same year a procession-parc was built at the Martelaarsveld, designed by architect Wolter te Riele. In 1926 the first national pilgrimage was held. Te Riele had also designed a big chapel, but apart from its foundations it was not built. His former student H.W. Valk, who had made an alternative design free of charge, was assigned to build the chapel instead. Work started in February 1934, six months later it was completed. The design of the chapel was obviously inspired by Romanesque architecture. It has a semi-oval ground-plan, closed by a straight line. A 300 metres long passageway follows the contours of the chapel, broken only by the entrance and the choir. Benches are placed in tiers, like in an amphitheatre, allowing a good view on the choir. All spaces are covered by a wooden roofconstruction on arches of brick, except for the choir which has stone vaulted. Only the centre of the chapel is uncovered.

Back to Churches in the province of Fryslân

Back to Dokkum

Back to H.W. Valk