Amsterdam has long been a refuge for Jewish people fleeing persecution – starting at the end of the 15th century, when they were expelled from Spain and Portugal, and later with the arrival of refugees from Poland, during the 17th century’s tragic Thirty Years War. Amsterdam’s Jewish community has come to life again – now numbering some 40,000; made up of young and old, religious and secular, including many Israelis who have relocated there. Today, Jewish people in the Dutch capital are hearing the Good News about Jesus through our recent summer outreach which saw 15,000 gospel leaflets distributed to Jewish homes and over 1,000 gospel conversations with Israelis tourists and Jewish locals. Please pray that the Lord will bring many of them to put their trust in the Messiah!
In Spain or Italy being a member of a church is part of everyday life, but in the Netherlands almost half the population identifies itself as non-religious. This huge change has occurred only within the last few decades. Yet there is reason for hope. People are still looking for answers and, unlike their parents, young people of today do not automatically reject religion out of hand. Pray that the many existing churches, together with the newly-founded congregations, can be a growing witness, so that Dutch people can discover God’s liberating gospel.
As in many parts of Europe, mission in the Netherlands must cross borders of nationality, language, economic and social status. Every day hundreds of Brazilian and Russian young people arrive in the Netherlands, deceived into the sex trade by mafia organizations. Once primarily a sending base, the Netherland, like most of Western Europe, has become a needy mission field. For example, Brazilian missionaries have planted a church attended by over 1,000 ex-prostitutes in Amsterdam. The growth of the evangelical movement gives hope for the future. Unlike their parents, young people in the Netherlands are becoming more open to the gospel.
Population: 17,100,475 (2017)
Official languages: Dutch
GDP (PPP) per capita: $53,139 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 81 years
Religions: 58% Agnostic or Atheist, 25% Catholic, 11% Protestant, 4% Muslim, 2% other religions