History of church Harkema


H i s t o r y   o f   c h u r c h  H a r k e m a


In the landscape between Aduard, Den Ham and Fransum is the monastery farm ARBERE. Around 1960, Albert Harkema became a farmer here.

Forty years later livestock became a secondary importance and he shaped a long cherished passion to build his own church. As he said by himself, ‘for the love of bricks and for the people who go to the church’.

Every year, thousands of visitors from every direction come to church Harkema.


Harkema began with digging and expanding of the old canal around the monastery farm and in miniature he imitated the head-neck-torso farm as a shelter for the ducks. Later on he constructed the tower. Then they said; why he did not made a church from it? And so Harkema did. He took 12.000 bricks from Belgium, the organ from ‘IJhorst’ and statues of Maria from more southern places.


The church is in the centre of the old island Middag. Surrounded from all sides by more than a 2000 years old landscape. Many monasteries were built here.

The monks let editing the lands by so called conversion, half monks.

Everywhere around Aduard the monastery built farms on mounds, where the half monks yielded there labour. Only in the morning and evening they visited the monastery church.


Very often they built chapels, with dormitory’s and dining rooms next to the farm so that the monks not had to walk far to the monastery. Such a small agricultural monastic community we call, VOORWERK.

The earliest mention of such a monastery farm is from former farmer Harkema.

In an agreement signed in 1313 between the abbot of Aduard, Lieuwerderwolde, Peize, Roderwolde and Foxwolde refers to a lock, which they have laid by themselves collectively called ARBERE.

Nobody knew what it meant until in the beginning of the 20th century, somebody found a marker in the farm of former farmer Harkema. “ARBERE is an ancient Frisian.