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St. George's Church Garden

Schermerstraat 11 (blauwe poort)

The Hortus Conclusus of the St. George Church is a realization by landscape architect Ronald van der Hilst (°1965 Enschede). The land is owned by the church community of the church with whom van der Hilst concluded a contract for an indefinite period. 

Although the curators initially saw this hidden garden as a possible location for another work of art, they soon realized that not only the garden in itself is an independent work of art but that it also fits perfectly within the subject FINIS TERRAE.


The garden is an interpretation by Ronald van der Hilst of the ancient concept in garden design: the Hortus (garden) Conclusus (closed). In several religions, the Hortus Conclusus stands for the garden of paradise: the place from which man was once expelled and which he has been looking for ever since. A depiction of the Garden of Eden.


In the biblical Song of Songs, the Hortus Conclusus stands for the virginity of Mary. Van der Hilst planted the plants described in this biblical text: the olive tree (peace), the cypress (contact between heaven and earth) and the rose without thorns (love of Mary). There is also a walkabout as in old monastery gardens, but now with living 'columns'.  

The enclosed garden is like an open green box in an urbanized landscape. Van der Hilst not only wanted to create an aesthetic image, but he also tried to make it a 'living' place: a healthy place with a rich soil and a 'safe haven' for birds and insects. 

The stylized Hortus Conclusus from the Middle Ages shows us how people then experienced the perfection of paradise; the opposite of what they were surrounded by the wilderness. Van der Hilst, on the other hand, sees paradise as a cornucopia with a diversity of species, beautiful colors and a diversity of textures and scents: the opposite of what man finds himself surrounded by today.  

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