candles for earthlings

spring 2020

Art and religion offer hope in times of crisis. But how do we stay connected in this time of quarantine now that places like churches and museums have closed their doors? During the lockdown of spring 2020, the Oude Kerk and the Oude Kerk congregation jointly present the initiative Candles for Earthlings.

Lighting a candle for someone is a centuries-old tradition that offers solace in uncertain times both in churches and beyond. In recent months, we lit 120 candles in the Oude Kerk every day as part of the art installation Poems for Earthlings by Adrián Villar Rojas. We salvaged the candle stumps that were left over at the end of the day, because the artist considered it important that the materials were recycled.

Poems for Earthlings is about art in times of crisis – a theme that is suddenly more topical than we would like it to be. More than ever, we Earthlings are now connected worldwide.

To stay connected and keep the fire of faith and art burning we have decided to give the Poems for Earthlings candles a second life. We will hand them out in the neighbourhood and people can pick them up at the Oude Kerk.

It is certain that the world will change because of this crisis. We hope that change will be positive. What do you hope the world will look like after this period? Light your candle at home, take a picture of it, add your personal wish, send it to us and we will share it with the world.

Do you want to join in? Light your candle, take a picture and, together with your short answer to the question: ‘How do you hope the world will change because of this crisis?’, send it to or share it on social media tagging your post with the hashtag #CandlesforEarthlings. If you cannot come to the Oude Kerk to pick up a candle, you are of course very welcome to join in using your own.

Photo: Jörg Baumann.