The route of the iconic Stations of the Cross is not only connected to physical locations of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, but is also manifest in Catholic churches, processions, and passion plays, as well as heritage sites and shrines around the world. A twenty-first-century relocation of this pilgrimage is the international project Art Stations of the Cross. With the aim to offer artistic reflections on social injustice, each station is represented by an artwork especially located in a heritage site. Presented as a journey of contemplation, the 2019 edition took place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In this article, participant observation, questionnaires, and Art Stations documentation material are brought into conversation with pilgrimage theory. Three elements in particular are discussed: pilgrimage experience, its relation to mass-tourism, and materialisation of the pilgrimage narrative. Taking place in the heart of Amsterdam, an area overtaken by mass-tourism, the paper analyses how Art Stations established a double liminal context that simultaneously challenged and reinforced the route’s contemplative character. In addition, through the interplay of materiality and narrative, the Stations of the Cross tradition offered a prism on contemporary forms of suffering, and vice versa. This study contributes to the understanding of the multifaceted nature of contemporary pilgrimage taking shape in ongoing negotiations between visual art, religious heritage, and ritual.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.