The imposing Groate Kerk church in the town of Sint Jacobiparochie has served as a cultural centre for the Het Bildt region for several decades, hosting concerts, meetings and other events.
The church has been owned by the Old Frisian Churches Foundation since 1979. The cultural programme is managed by Stichting Kultureel Sintrum De Groate Kerk.
The church was built in 1844. Its quasi-imperial architecture was designed by Thomas Romein. The previous church on this site was a brick church built in 1530. The Het Bildt region developed on reclaimed land protected by a dike built by workers from the provinces of Zuid-Holland, Zeeland and Friesland from 1500 onwards.
There has been a Pilgrim Information Centre at the church since 2011. This is one of the places where people set off on the Camino de Santiago or Way of St James pilgrimage trail that ends in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
REFUGE FOR PILGRIMS
The church marks the start of both the Camino de Santiago or Way of St James pilgrimage trail and the Claercamppad Monastery Route.
Pilgrims walking these routes can stay at the refuge for €15 per person per night.
To be able to stay at the refuge you must:
- have a pilgrim pass issued by the Dutch Confraternity of Saint James (Nederlands Genootschap van Sint Jacob) or
- a pilgrimage route booklet or stamp card issued by one of the pilgrimage routes in Friesland or
- be a supporter of the Old Frisian Churches Foundation (Stichting Alde Fryske Tsjerken)
Please call in advance to check availability!