The Bat Johan Creten

Bolsward
Bats are intriguing, useful creatures who play a crucial role in the ecosystem by preying on insects. In Asian culture, bats symbolise wealth, luck and a fortunate old age. Here in the West, they represent both dark forces and a positive rescuing strength: take Batman, for instance, or the façades of great cathedrals where bats – in the form of waterspouts – keep demons at bay. Which is wonderfully appropriate to this burned-out church, the Broerekerk. The stairs on the bat’s back invite visitors to ascend – to symbolically conquer the bat, and in doing so, to transcend themselves.
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities

Inspiration: the façade of the Broerekerk, a church mainly destroyed by fire
Material: bronze
Size: 3.3 m high, 2.4 m wide
Location: The Broereplein square, in front of the Broerekerk

Johan Creten’s (Belgium, 1963) ceramic and bronze sculptures tackle a range of subjects, from impressive birds and fearsome cuttlefish to woman’s torsos covered with sharp-edged roses. Their symbolically rich power is never unambiguous, and swings back and forth between temptation and fear, strength and vulnerability, the sacred and the demonic. With his Catholic background and his sense of drama, Creten perfectly captures the loaded history of Catholic Bolsward.

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