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Jaerlawei 13, 9122 CT, Wetsens (Fr.)    

0519-221904 of 06-24257367



Who would have thought?

A small but characteristic church without a tower in the small mound village of Wetsens, somewhere near Dokkum, will be in the spotlight in May 2018 in the context of Leeuwarden, European Capital of Culture.

Some time ago, the church of Wetsens was placed with the 'Stichting Alde Fryske Tsjerken'.

During the transfer, a unique project was discussed: 'Under de Toer' in the context of Leeuwarden as the cultural capital of Europe. For this project, towns and cities in Friesland have been selected with a special 'story under the tower', which give rise to a cultural spectacle. And Wetsens, with the Sint Vituskerk, also appears to have a special story 'under the tower', as the source of such a cultural spectacle.

Composer and sound artist Anne E. de Bruijn has dared to submit a project to the 'Under de Toer' committee. A total of almost 100 projects were weighed and subjected to a strict selection; there was only room for 30. After months of excitement, the redeeming letter came with the positive message: the Sint Vitus Passion in Wetsens was a fact and also the only 'Under de tour' project in Northeast Friesland!

The tower collapses ...

What is that special, but also imaginative and wonderful story? It takes place in the 19th century, where on a Sunday morning in 1842 a preacher was standing in the pulpit in the Sint Vituskerk in Wetsens. 

The sermon is about Samson, judge of the people of Israel, about 1000 BC. Stripped of his strength (hair) and sight, Samson stands in the Temple of Dagon, the God of the Philistines. His hands grope at the pillars, praying for strength he pulls the pillars in an extreme effort. The Temple collapses and all Philistines perish.

And at that very moment, during that sermon, the tower of Wetsens collapses, for no apparent reason, under loud noise ...


Saint Vitus

On the basis of this wonderful story 'under the tower' of the Vitus Church in Wetsens, the St. Vitus Passion was born. Of course it is about that moment and about that sermon about Samson, but also about Saint Vitus, the namesake of the church. The young Vitus lived about 300 years after Christ and was born in Mazara del Vallo in Sicily (Italy). He was the son of a Roman general, but was brought up with a foster family for his upbringing and, without the knowledge of his father, was raised Christian by his foster parents Crescentia and Modestus. Vitus persisted steadfastly in his Christian faith, despite severe torture and coercion to cast his faith by the Roman emperor and his father. As a convinced Christian, Vitus healed and helped people who suffered from diseases of the spirit. Vitus endures an earthquake, the cooking pot with boiling oil, the lion's den and suspension on the gallows. He dies at age 12 after going through all the trials of exhaustion, along with his educators who have remained faithful to him. To date, Saint Vitus is a comfort, hope and example for many in difficult times.


A ribbon of Vitus churches runs through Europe. In the birthplace of Mazara del Vallo there are two churches dedicated to Vitus. San Vito in urbe (city) and San Vito a mare (sea). Anne de Bruijn and Joanneke Romkema (partner and producer) went on a pilgrimage to Sicily this summer. Parts of the route from Wetsens has been cycled. First of all the Dutch places: Winschoten (where Vitus appears in the municipality coat of arms), Stiens, Wijns and of course the place in Leeuwarden, where once there was a Vitus church next to the Oldehove and now will bear the diocese as new name Sint Vitus. Too much to mention, but it is striking that there are also many Vitus churches in the Gooi region, over the border with Germany, such as in Hoch Elten. Contacts have been made and stories have been exchanged. In the church in Hilversum are also relics of Vitus, originally from the Vituskerk in Bussum (now residential complex). In Sicily it turned out that a 'Festino Di San Vito' would take place from August 23 to 27. It goes without saying that this combination of circumstances was very special to experience. Anne and Joanneke were part of the party, procession and celebrations around Vitus. Contacts have also been made there. All this will result in an exchange.

Liturgical drama in a triptych

The Sint Vitus Passion has become a musical triptych with various scenes:

Dagon, the temple 1000 BC.

Sicily, 300 AD. Chr.

Wetsens, St. Vituskerk 1842 and 2018

A musical liturgical drama, with vocal soloists (Vitus, Crescentia, Modestus, Simson and the preacher), choirs (choir and public choir) and various instruments: harp, piano and organ, euphonium, flute, violin and percussion.

A number of photos of the pilgrimage "in the footsteps of St. Vitus" , which we, Anne and Joanneke have undertaken in the context of St. Vitus, will be projected on the walls of the newly restored St. Vitus church. In addition, we work with light and sound, in short, a total theater around this unique story in Wetsens, Under the tour, without a tower ...

The performances will take place in May 2018. The Pentecost weekend May 18-21, 2018 and the weekend after May 25-27, 2018. See also the agenda

P laatsen reservations for one of the seven versions ?

You can do that here .