How to Visit ‘Reading Between the Lines’ in Belgium

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Last Updated on 26th April 2019 by Sophie Nadeau

For those who are familiar with the Belgian Limburg region, and more specifically, the fruit orchards that are so synonymous with this area of the European country, Reading Between the Lines in Belgium (known in Flemish as Doorkijkkerk) likely needs no introduction.

The metallic installation, with its towering steeple, looks almost transparent from some angles and is a truly unusual piece of modern artwork in the heart of the countryside. Here’s how to visit this unique church sculpture on the edges of Borgloon city in Eastern Belgium…

How to Visit 'Reading Between the Lines' in Belgium How to Visit 'Reading Between the Lines' in Belgium

A history of the Reading Between the Lines Installation 

Located in rural Belgium and surrounded by swathes of fruit orchards, the see-through church installation was created by Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, the collective name of the architects and artists Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh, who have been working together since 2007. Inspired by the pretty stone chapel that can be spied in the distance behind the installation, the art piece was installed by the pair in 2011, together with art museum Z33.

And standing at 10 metres high, though this is not nearly as large as your typical ecclesiastical building, the artwork is still pretty substantial and its interior can even be wandered through free of charge. All in all, 100 layers of weathered steel plates (over 2000 steel columns of them!) are stacked on top of one another atop a concrete base.

Though the church appears see-through from some angles, what is particularly interesting is that the structure is arranged so that every single part of the church’s footprinting is covered. Even if it’s pouring down with rain outside, you won’t get wet! In total, the impressive optical illusion of Reading Between the Lines in Belgium weighs a staggering 30 tonnes!

steeple of reading between the lines installation in BelgiumHow to Visit 'Reading Between the Lines' in Belgium

How to Visit ‘Reading Between the Lines’ in Belgium

Best seen at sunrise or sunset so as to make the most of the beautiful light, you should note that during weekends and school holidays, the place can get pretty packed! Family picnics are pretty popular in the area on sunny days and on especially busy days, you’ll even need to queue up to enter inside Reading Between the Lines.

The only way to really see the installation is by car, so you’ll need to rent one or ask a friend very nicely! ‘Reading Between the Lines’ can be found in the midst of the fruit orchards and vineyards that Belgian Limburg is so famous for. If you want to enjoy the stunning blossoms for yourself, then late March, April, and early May are the best times to visit.

Nearby parking is limited and signs for visiting the installation, which can only be visited by foot or bicycle, are few and far between. From the roadside, follow the Doorkijkkerk signs along the short gravel pathway to reach the installation: address 3840 Borgloon, Belgium.

apple orchards, Limburg Region, Belgium, Europe

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!

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