Amsterdam’s Red Light District is home to a bronze statue in honor of prostitutes around the world.
It is the first and only such monument anywhere.
The statue was unveiled during the Red Light District’s 2nd Annual Open Day, March 31, 2007.
Titled Belle, the statue depicts a full-breasted woman who, feet apart and standing in a doorway at the top of small set of steps, looks self-assuredly into the world.
It was created by artist Els Rijerse from ‘s-Graveland, Netherlands.
The bronze sculpture — which stands on Oudekerksplein in front of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam’s oldest church — was designed at the initiative of Mariska Majoor.
Majoor, herself a former prostitute, runs the Prostitution Information Center which is located at the same square.
According to Majoor the statue is meant to show respect to the millions of people around the world who earn their money in prostitution work.
In order to prevent vandalism, the statue is fortified with steel. Belle is perched atop a high, granite pedestal meant to deter those who engage in so-called ‘wildplassen’ (urinating in public).
Sculpture donated by an anonymous artist
Oudekerksplein — bordered by pubs, a coffee house, and bordellos — already sported a sculpture of a hand caressing a breast. This is one of several bronze and iron works of art donated to the city of Amsterdam by an unknown artist.
Hours before the statue of Belle was unveiled, Mariska Majoor was physically assaulted by an elderly lady who apparently was not happy to have the statue close to her home. The woman was taken into police custody, and released after the unveiling had taken place.
This article, Amsterdam statue honors prostitutes, describes works of art.
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