The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


On the first Sunday after Pentecost, Holy Trinity Sunday, a colourful procession passes the centre of Boxtel. The heart of it all is the shrine with the Holy Blood cloth. According to the legend, wine had been spilled on this cloth that had become blood of Christ during the consecration in the Holy Mass. The procession consists of groups that depict various parts of the story and the church. On the morning of the procession first of all a solemn Holy Mass is read, while the Holy Blood cloth is shown to the churchgoers. The procession itself starts at 3 PM and moves through the centre, to finish at the grand parish church of St. Peter. In the week, prior to the Holy Blood Procession, a so-called ‘Blood Miracle Evening’ is held in the knights’ hall of Stapelen Castle in Boxtel. In presentations, lectures and music the contemporary significance of worshipping the Blood cloths is highlighted.



The Priest and the parishioners in Boxtel and surroundings are involved in the Holy Blood Procession. More than five hundred volunteers are directly active for the procession. Local orchestra’s, choirs, a guild and a brotherhood from Boxtel perform. On the roadsides there are thousands of spectators. For almost everyone in Boxtel, the Holy Blood Procession is a display of community spirit which makes them proud.



The worshipping in Boxtel finds its origin in an event that took place several years before 1380. Priest Eligius van den Aker was supposed to have spilled consecrated wine on two frontals, the corporal and the altar cloth. The blood of Christ could not be washed away anymore. Eligius hid the cloths and only on his deathbed he confessed what had happened at the time and where the cloths concerned were. The cloths would soon attract many pilgrims to Boxtel. On June 27th 1380, Pope Pilaeus granted permission, in a bull, to show the cloths to the believers once a year, on Holy Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost. Around 1600 the cloths were secured in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.  Once a year, on Holy Trinity Sunday, they were transported to Boxtel for once day. After the capture of ‘s-Hertogenbosch by Frederick Henry, the cloths were taken to Stapelen Castle in Boxtel, in 1629. After the Piece of Münster in 1648 the cloths ended up in Antwerp and afterwards in Hoogstraten, where the first Holy Blood celebration took place in the St. Catherine Church in 1652. The recovery of the episcopal hierarchy, in 1853, strengthened the position of the Catholic church in the Netherlands. In Boxtel attempts were made to retrieve the Holy Blood cloths. After long negotiations, a compromise was reached in 1924. Boxtel would get the corporale and the altar cloth would stay in Hoogstraten. On June 15th 1924 the corporale was transported to the St. Peter church in Boxtel, in a solemn procession, and a procession took place. Processions in the public area were forbidden. As of 1947 the procession passes through the centre of Boxtel. In 1949 the visual artist Lucas van Hoek designed an extensive set-up for the procession, in which historical and biblical figures were represented. In the course of the years the procession has obtained a different significance for many people. They experience the procession as a cultural-historic phenomenon and they look for a modern way to shape it.



Heilig Bloedstichting Boxtel
De Papiermaker 28
5283 ZS