Museum Romeinse Katakomben

Plenkertstraat 55, 6301 GL Valkenburg, Netherlands

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Museum Romeinse Katakomben is a historical Roman museum. In our underground passages you will discover the ancient Rome of the third and fourth century. Our visitors descend to the graves of ordinary Roman citizens and to the beautiful colorful tombs of the rich Roman families. You will discover an underground labyrinth with burial chambers, underground architecture, and early-Christian paintings, which are really breathtakingly beautiful. The mystical labyrint is a spiritual experience in itself, intensified by the fact that there is no connection (phone/wifi) possible. The visitors are surrounded by a deep and intense silence and darkness, accompanied with nothing more then the light of candles and the guide’s petrol lamp. In 1910 the catacombs in the marlstone caves were opened. They are a carefully detailed reconstruction of the Roman catacombs, commissioned by Jan Diepen and supervised by the famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers. They chose to reconstruct the fourteen most beautiful parts of the Roman catacombs. Besides this mystical underground labyrinth, the museum also presents contemporary exhibitions, events, projects and lectures. Red line and starting point of all these presentations are themes which you can already find within our Catacombs. As an example I will bring forward the exhibition 'Scents of ancient Rome' where visitors were confronted with the scents of the wealthier inhabitants of Rome, but also with the less tasty smells of public life. Our underground chapel had been transformed to a spiritual meditation area, where visitors were able to experience the scents that were used by the priests to contact the spiritual world. As a second example I want to mention the video festival 'End(less)’, for which an international selection of video artists and film makers showed their vision on the theme of 'End(less), related to ‘infinity’ and 'the circle of life'. By doing this, the ancient theme of the catacombs has been transformed to the present time again. Our museum's theme, as well as our contemporary program relates to our new target group in many ways. A phenomenon within the target group of young, highly educated people is the fact that they question -or at least investigate- the former perceptions of religion and of their personal role in relation to the world around them, both socially and economically. As a result of this, they are trying to find and create a new basis, which is more and more based on a personal perception of a new and contemporary spirituality. Our museum touches the essence of this search: the theme is all about life and death, about spirituality, and about the way people deal with this spirituality in daily life. It is an essential topic within the personal needs of our target group. Of course placed within the framework of the ancient Rome, but at the same time universal and of all times. By visiting our museum, and by being confronted with different views on these themes, visitors will be triggered on a spiritual level and they will be able to go through an essential learning experience. By wandering through our underground labyrint, guided by highly educated and inspiring guides, and by experiencing our contemporary program, they will be addressed in their own 'language' and their own level of thinking. Because of that, the underlying message will be transmitted to them in a very direct way, which will challenge them to start a dialogue, with themselves or with others. We would like to welcome the selected youngsters in our museum for an interesting and mystical underground tour. Depending on the timeframe and the budget, it might also be possible to set up a part of the contemporary program, like a small selection of the art video’s or the spiritual experience with the ancient scents, in the underground chapel.

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