After being closed for years, St. Joseph Church in Arnhem, Netherlands, reopened again in 2011 as something altogether unexpected: a skate park. Eight years had passed since the closing ceremony, in which the consecrated altar was moved, but statues of saints still decorate the building.
The transformation into a skate park was blessed by the parish Saint Eusebius, even though some people found it hard to get used to the idea of children skateboarding in their beloved church. Others saw the repurposed space as a way to give something back to the community and to the local residents that originally financed the building in the 1920s and ’30s.
There are, however, dark clouds on the horizon for Skatehal Arnhem. The Roman Catholic Church, which still owns the building, has been trying to find a buyer for a long time without succeeding. The building itself is in need of repair due to water damages and faulty construction, something neither the owners or the municipality are too keen to spend money on. The needed repairs have left this unique church-turned-skate park closed to the public for the time being, except for some special events.