Amsterdam’s Red Light District – A good place for a Green Christian?

Author: | Date: 14 September, 2012 | Category: Archived News Biodiversity | Comments: 0

Would you like to know more of the ecology of the Netherlands?

I was returning from an international meeting in Elspeet, Netherlands,  where I had met Europeans from 22 different countries with 14 languages. The lingua franca was English(Thank Goodness). We had had lectures on new types of Economics, on Theology and on Green activities of churches. We had shared ideas, hopes and plans.

See more about the conference here. Eco-justice Growth and Hope – ECEN 2012
See a list of Green Activities of the UK Methodist Church – a snapshot in summer 2012

Now with a day and a half to fill in in Amsterdam on my return

journey to UK, I wanted to see more.

To appreciate the ground I am standing on, its special plants and its history –“A sense of place”.

The conference centre had been set in woods on sand with (it was said) Wild Boar. On a ridge of sand pushed up by a glacier

What of Amsterdam?

Not for me the grand Hotel Victoria Plaza opposite the Central

Railway Station. “The Rough Guide to Amsterdam” listed a back-packers hostels – and I discovered the  “The Shelter“  ( 21 euro £18 per night including breakfast) in the Red Light District. –  Moreover it was a Christian Hostel   I recommend it.

On the way out, I had found being a tourist, walking round, and round, and round,    and round  was really quite hard work, and a bit lonely. Now with a base, and friendly

people, good cheap food, a bed with a low ecological footprint  (16 bunks in one room) and internet access, I was free to explore, It had a quiet quite courtyard with a fishpond and Cyperus sedge.

So what did I find?

Amsterdam is built on sand.

The Yorkshire Dales (where I come from is built on limestone made of shells left by creatures in the sea 350million years ago)

Mull in Scotland, which I once visited, is built on old lava flows from volcanoes which erupted 60 million years ago.

But, they were digging up the streets in Amsterdam
– streets which may once have been canals,
–  and here under each building
– there is sand
– sand with  shells in.

I visited Rijks Museum (Rembrant etc); Botanic Gardens;  Ann Frank House; Jewish Museums; (shattering to see what happened to so many humans – the Jews and others – so relatively recently.)

I avoided being run over by bicycles – they come from all directions at great speed; Some end up in the canals.

I had bought and was bemused by, in a Mr Bean type of way, an OV-chipkaart,  a bit like a London Oyster card, and I went round swiping it at every post I could see at station entrances. Swipe, swipe, swipe.

Plants? I’ll write a separate page.

Buildings from the Golden Age 400 years ago still grace the paths beside the canals. Huge modern designed buildings are rising just north of Central Station. All built round canals – all built out of the sea and sand.

And the Red Light District? – fascinating – but perhaps there I am “green” in the naïve sense rather than the eco sense.

 

 

Amsterdam’s Red Light District – A good place for a Green Christian?

Would you like to know more of the ecology of the Netherlands?

I was returning from an international meeting where I had met Europeans from 22 different countries with 14 languages. The lingua franca was English (Thank Goodness). We had had lectures on new types of Economics, on Theology and on Green activities of churches. We had shared ideas, hopes and plans.

See more about the conference here.
See a list of Green Activities of the UK Methodist Church – a snapshot in summer 2012 –

Now with a day and a half to fill in in Amsterdam on my return journey, I wanted to see more.  To appreciate the ground I am standing on, its special plants and its history –“A sense of place”. The conference centre had been set in woods on sand with (it was said) Wild Boar. On a ridge of sand pushed up by a glacier http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geology_of_the_Netherlands. What of Amsterdam?

Not for me the grand Hotel Victoria Plaza opposite the Central Railway Station. I read the “The Rough Guide to Amsterdam” and discovered a back-packers hostel –   ( 21 euro £18 per night including breakfast) –  moreover it was a Christian Hostel called “the Shelter“ in the Red Light District. I recommend it.

On the way out, I had found being a tourist, walking round, and round, and round, and round  was quite hard work, and a bit lonely. Now with a base, and friendly people, good cheap food, a bed in a room with a low ecological footprint (16 bunks in one room) and internet access, I was free to explore.

So what did I find?

Amsterdam is built on sand.

The Yorkshire Dales (where I come from is built on limestone made of shells left by creatures in the sea 350million years ago)

Mull in Scotland, which I once visited, is built on old lava flows from volcanoes which erupted 60 million years ago.

But, they were digging up the streets in Amsterdam
– streets which may once have been canals,
–  and here under each building
– there is sand
– sand with  shells in.

I visited Rijks Museum (Rembrant etc); Botanic Gardens;  Ann Frank House; Jewish Museums; (shattering to see what happened to so many humans – the Jews and others – so relatively recently.)

I avoided being run over by bicycles – they come from all directions at great speed; Some end up in the canals.

I had bought and was bemused by, in a Mr Bean type of way, an OV-chipkaart,  a bit like a London Oyster card, and I went round swiping it at every post I could see at station entrances. Swipe, swipe, swipe.

Plants? I’ll write a separate page.

Buildings from the Golden Age 400 years ago still grace the paths beside the canals. Huge modern designed buildings are rising just north of Central Station. All built round canals – all built out of the sea and sand.

And the Red Light District? – fascinating – but perhaps there I am “green” in the naïve sense rather than the eco sense.


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