Sculptor: Els Rijerse, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Photo: Jolanta Kruszka, May 2017)
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).
The “Belle” monument was the witness of many marriage proposals, wedding ceremonies or show of wedding dresses from one of the fashion designers.
So how is with this love, free choice, respect for the other person and his sexuality, the right to decide about herself/himself and her/his body regardless of sex, color of skin, religion or profession she/he performs? One Europe and seems like two worlds. February 14 – Happy Valentine’s Day 😉