What happens when a church shuts down?
Faith has faded more dramatically in the Netherlands than in any other part Europe, with an average of two churches closing down every week. With the congregations all leaving, the church buildings are being used for other purposes. With each church that is forced to close it's doors to religious activities, the question of what to do with the paintings, vestments, silverware and even the pews, is an important one.
In contrast, churches in other parts of the world have the opposite problem. With church growth comes the requirement for more churches, and with more churches comes the requirement for more 'furniture', artwork and other necessary items.
A pioneer network of Dutch religious art experts is on the case, however. In collaboration with the powers-that-be, this network have begun the task of finding new homes and arranging transfer of items across the world.
The experts state that they are wary about selling the items because the families that donated them would be offended to see them up for sale. Furthermore, in giving the items away to validated new homes, the risk of religious items being put to inappropriate use is reduced.
The network of experts went on to say that the surplus could grow so large that they may be forced to consider other options. A representative went on to say that "If new owners can't be found, we should think about destroying them in a respectful manner, however this will always be the last option."