The Lambertus church

A rather orthodox Catholic church - Built in 1878 - Climbed in 1999


LAST CHANCE, BUT PERMISION DENIED - While driving to college on my bike I noticed a large crane along the tower of the Lambertus-church in Kralingen. The church-roof and spire are being renovated and on this day (Friday 2 July 1999) they were installing the cross at the top of the spire. I asked for permission to climb up, but the workmen were too busy. However they told me the scaffolding would be removed the week afterwards. So I knew I had to hurry.

PERMISSION GRANTED - After college at 16:00 I drove by the church and saw two other workmen doing some paperwork in their car. They were about to leave. I asked for permission to take pictures of the view. They said that probably no one would bother me if I climbed the scaffolding. I drove home immediately and picked up my camera and climbing gear.

The patron saint

The statue of the patron saint of the church: St. Lambertus (I suppose Lambertus of Maestricht - does anyone know more about him?).

He sits on top of the gothic arch of the front door, high above the crowd, but now his head was at hip height and I looked down upon his crown. Someone had put a workingman's glove on the hand that made the blessing gesture. I don't know if it was protection or a crude joke.

Thank you father, for your hospitality!

TERRIFIC VIEW - I climbed almost to the top of the spire, up 25 ladders. Later I calculated I must have been 50m high, that's 17 floors! It was a hot day, but at the top a cool wind was blowing. The view was wonderful. I could see the Kralingseplas on one side and all the Rotterdam bridges on the other side.

On the left you're looking north-east along the Hoflaan. Notice the tower of the Hoflaankerk. (The inside of that tower is on my website too! It's in the "strange places" section.) In the distance you can see the artificial lake - Kralingseplas - and the appartment buildings in Ommoord at the horizon.

On the right you're looking straight down into the Oostzeedijk and Oostzeedijk-Beneden.

LOSS OF COURAGE - I didn't dare to climb the last two ladders to the real top. Today, I still don't know why. I knew I was perfectly safe, I had my climbing harness on and was attached to the scaffolding. I had my climbing-helmet on my head. But even though I sat down and tried to get used to the height and the exposure I could not overcome my uneasiness.

Courage is a scarce resource in my case. At the start of an adventure I have plenty, but then it's used up as I progress.

My policy is to stop if I feel I can't handle my fear. I'm afraid I'll get distracted and make stupid mistakes. So I stopped there and then. No summit experience for me. I admire the workmen (steeplejacks) who do this daily and who (probably) use no extra protection like I did.

Spires of all sizes and in all states of (dis-) repair

Other sights - On the way down I had time to enjoy the view and explore the interesting features of the tower. I saw:

NEVERMORE - Indeed the scaffolding was removed next week. So now I have a set of unique, irreproducible pictures. The lesson is: always take a chance the moment it occurs, you may never get a second one.


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2000 Petr Kazil