The Cathedral of Thorns

The Cathedral of Thorns is a full building-sized illuminated labyrinth on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Visitors are invited to walk through its corridors and experience an artistic journey through a troublesome history toward a bright future; both sides represented by the hostile yet beautiful thorns. To raise consciousness of the similarities between religions, the design includes symbols of today's world religions and ancient nature-based religions. The walls have niches containing objects of contemporary art by guest artists, expressing mankind's ability to change, share and collaborate through creativity. In addition, the labyrinth also functions as a stage for performances. The Cathedral of Thorns was designed by Herman van Bergen, winner of the prestigious Cola Debrot Award in 2016, and was constructed by unemployed youth. This work of art (in progress) unites all themes of Van Bergen's previous thorn-art sculptures into one expansive project: a building honoring Mother Nature and the Free Spirit that achieves change through creativity.


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The Cathedral of Thorns introduces… Frouwkje Smit


The Cathedral of Thorns introduces… Frouwkje Smit:

Santu Kabritu di spiritu di sumpiña
De heilige geit van de geest van de doornen
The Holy goat of the spiritual from the thorns

Santu Kabritu di spiritu di sumpiña is an ode to the goat. The goat eats the leaves from the branches of the wabi, a work that is almost impossible for man to do. Doing so, the goat helps to realize the Cathedral of Thorns. The artist, nature and the animal work together and are connected with each other.

In many cultures the goat is a sacrificial animal and represents fertility, vitality and a strong connection with the force of life. In ancient Greek religion, Pan, the Greek god is depicted as half man half goat, and by the Christian as the devil.

The color blue stands for holy and is found in various religions such as the holy virgin Mary and the evil eye. The color blue also refers to the pigment of the indigo plant, which was shipped from Curaçao to the Netherlands as an export product during colonial times. It was the most sought after color and stands for royalty. The golden crown of thorns with cotton represents sharpness and tenderness

The goat is the main thread and symbolizes the power behind the Cathedral of Thorns masterpiece.

Visual artist Frouwkje Smit, April, 2021

The Cathedral of Thorns introduces… Mimi van Bindsbergen!


Be sure to visit us and experience the magnificent Cathedral of Thorns for yourself.
With a total of 45 international and local artists and counting, displaying their art in the Cathedral of Thorns, we are very pleased to welcome and add yet another artist to our gallery.

Mimi van Bindsbergen
“I am a collector, not only of objects, but also of impressions. Like an archaeologist I walk through the landscape in search of depths and layers of time, the history, by intensely using my senses, feeling and tasting the atmosphere.”

All the impressions Van Bindsbergen acquires, sometimes captured with a camera or notebook but largely with her memory, she processes to paintings or sculptures in her studio. Her impressions transform on the canvas and become connected with the places she has visited. Some of her paintings portray an image like an actual archaeological find. In some of her earlier works she would use iron wire and shards of clay, working outside the boundaries of the canvas. Shaped or modeled forms emerge from the canvas. “It is important that the canvas radiates a certain force. It’s not just about the form, but even more about the mysticism that surrounds it.”

Title: Sweet & Sour
Wooden box 30x30x5cm Acryl and Conte. Front is back and vice versa.

The union of two worlds. I have always lived near or just over the border of the Netherlands. And because of that, I was always conscious of ‘the other side’. The front and back of the art shows this.
The colors primarily represent Curaçao with the elements of water and the fierce radiance of light.
The dynamics, the energy in everything. Your connection as a human with your surroundings.

Moving along with the rhythm that is all around you. Consciously see everything through different eyes. The perpetual reflection between you and the world. The figure seems to ripple over the waves. True? At first, yes! But there is also a moment of unsettledness. Actually, it is both.

Cathedral Labyrinth by Night – Friday, February 26

Cathedral Labyrinth by Night

Friday, February 26  –  6:30 pm

View a short documentary about the making of the Cathedral and take a tour of the labyrinth by night. Enjoy the art exhibition inside the Labyrinth and experience the ode to the free spirit with the light of life shining from within the thorns.

Limited seating. Buy your ticket in advance at The Art Factory (Next to Restaurant Number TEN) and Landhuis Bloemhof.

AFL. 20.00

Entrance and Parking : Restaurant Number TEN

Social distancing rules apply.

Meet the team

Herman van Bergen

Herman van Bergen

More Art

More Art

Other Artists


We are building this Cathedral of Thorns with the help of many companies.