Belle, Sex Worker Commemorative Statue
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In Amsterdam’s Red Light District, there is a bronze statue honoring sex workers from around the world.
It is the first and only monument of its kind.
The statue, titled Belle1French for “beautiful”, depicts a busty woman standing wide-legged in a doorway at the top of a small staircase, gazing confidently into the world.
A plague reads, in English, “Respect sex workers all over the world.”
To prevent vandalism, the statue is secured with steel. Belle is enthroned on a high granite pedestal, which is meant to deter those who urinate in public.
The statue was unveiled during the Red Light District Open Day on March 31, 2007.
She was created by artist Els Rijerse of ‘s-Graveland, Netherlands.
Prostitute Information Center
“Respect Sex Workers”
According to Majoor, the statue is intended to promote respect for the millions of people around the world who earn their money in sex work.
Human Trafficking, Assault, and Murder
The immediate reason for placing the statue was the murder of a Hungarian prostitute.
Just a year after its unveiling, a commemoration was held for a Romanian sex worker. The 21-year-old woman, known only by her work name Mona, was killed in a hotel room.
And despite initiatives and police vigilance, human trafficking remains a problem.
Flowers are laid every year on December 17, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
Oudekerksplein: Old Church Square
Most bordellos and related businesses in the immediate neighborhood of the church have been closed as part of Amsterdam’s infamous Project 1012.
Nowadays most Red Light District businesses are found across the Oudezijds Voorburgwal canal.
Oudekerksplein (literally: Old Church Square) itself is surrounded by pubs, coffee houses, restaurants, a day care center, a radio station, and bordellos.
Take a walk around the church:
Bronze relief of a hand caressing a female breast
On the south-facing side of the church a bronze relief of a hand caressing a female breast is set among the cobblestones. It is one of several bronze and iron works of art donated to the city of Amsterdam by an unknown artist.
More about Amsterdam’s Red Light District
The Red Light District in Amsterdam is a major draw for tourists.
There are in fact three such districts, but the downtown neighborhood known as “De Wallen,” or “Rosse Buurt,” is the oldest, largest and best known.
While many visitors still believe Amsterdam has an ‘anything goes’ policy, the City of Amsterdam is actively looking at curtailing the number of prostitutes, pornography-related businesses, and ‘coffeeshops‘ (cannabis cafes). More
Amsterdam Red Light District: Walking Tour
The best way to see the Red Light District is with a guided walking tour. Discover Amsterdam’s Wallen with a professional guide. See the famous coffee shops, erotic theaters, and narrow streets. Learn about the history of sex work in the Netherlands.
This article was first published on April 2, 2007.
Amsterdam Tourist Favorites
- Amsterdam Light Festival (and recommended alternatives)
- ‘Old Amsterdam’ cheese. Not that old. Not from Amsterdam
- Things to do in Amsterdam
- A’DAM Lookout — Amsterdam 360° Panorama Observation Deck
- Van Gogh Museum — Plan Your Visit
- Public Transport to and from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
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