Antwerp, Houtdok-Noordkaai 25
It is something different: discussing a ship instead of a building … But every time I pass with a group here, I try to promote it … The church ship that lies between the MAS and the new Port House is a special ship. The structure is made from concrete. This seems impressive, but concrete ships has been around for more than 150 years. Especially during the war many ships were built in concrete. There was then a shortage of wood and steel, the normal construction materials. It was cheap and no skilled workers were needed.
The most famous concrete ship is Louise-Catherine from 1918 – 1920, which was decorated by Le Corbusier in 1929. It is currently in Paris where it is being renovated. According to the rumors, it will be open to the public in 2020. Something else to look forward to. (Unfortunately it has sunk in the meantime.)
This ship was built in Rotterdam at the request of the German commander and after the design of French engineers. It had to become a supply ship for submarines. In 1944 it was towed to Antwerp for further finishing. It never got that far. After the war it was sold to a firm that stored and washed coal. Unfortunately it was not suitable for inland waterways and in 1950 the owner donated the ship to the diocese of Mechelen – Brussels. This then made it available to the Apostolate of Skippers.
In 1952 the ship is renamed a church ship. The upper deck will be further completed with recovery material. There is a small and a large chapel, a banquet hall, a cafeteria and a chaplain. It moved a number of times in the port, until it found its last stop here in 2012. It was protected as a monument in 2011. There are still masses on Sundays and you can also strengthen the inner being. All go there.
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