One of the first landmarks you will see when you exit the Amsterdam Central Station is a building with two sentences in blue capital letters: God Roept U and Jesus Loves You. The building is Samaritans Inn which contains the artistic café Dwaze Zaken, a Christian pilgrim bookstore, a dance studio and YWAM (Youth with a mission) Amsterdam staff housing. Located in the De Wallen district, Samaritans Inn also marks the entrance to the biggest Red Light District in Amsterdam, where most of the city’s drug and sex trade is being conducted.
God Roept U, Jesus Loves You
God Roept U means “God Calls You” in Dutch. The location of the building is particularly interesting, since it almost looks like a gateway (or a warning?) to the Red Light District. Maybe God watches the visitors of the district a bit more close, or does he protects the many sex workers that provide their services in the (in)famous Red Light District. According to our sources, the original sign “God Roept U” was first placed atop of the building over 100 years ago by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army later abandoned the building which was acquired by YWAM in 1980 who resurrected the sign, adding the Jesus Loves You in blue neon letters.
As mentioned above, beyond the sign you will find the Red Light District of Amsterdam, a world filled with drugs and prostitution. The district attracts numerous tourists each year. The area is filled with characteristic “windows” where sex workers offer their services, as well as coffee shops where customers can buy and consume cannabis (weed, hash, marijuana).
The authorities in Netherlands have chosen to legalize prostitution and cannabis, within certain limits, to maintain control and gain tax income from the associated activities. Through regulations, the limits and areas where such practices are legalized, are narrowed down, hence the creation of the so called Red Light Districts.