Our ministry is focused on backpackers. We strive to be a light for Christ to the 40.000 guests who stay in our hostels every year. We have two Christian hostels located in the heart of Amsterdam: Shelter City and Shelter Jordan. Through hospitality, we make the gospel of Christ known to travelers, in words and deeds.
Our Christian mission centers around three themes:
We offer travelers a low-budget way to travel. Guests may book a bed in a shared dormitory-style room with other guests of the same sex. Since 1971, our hostels have been a safe retreat to many backpackers traveling through Amsterdam. The love and faith that we have in Christ is central to everything we do.
Both hostels are run by Christian volunteers from all over the world: the United States, Germany, Australia, Poland, the Netherlands, South Korea and many other nations! We train and equip them to engage in hospitality and evangelism in a culturally relevant manner. Ministry volunteers are between 18 and 30 years old, and volunteer for up to one year. Want to know more? Read our full Mission Statement here!
The history of our ministry
In 1855, Rev. Jan de Liefde founded the non-denominational Protestant organization Tot Heil Des Volks. From the beginning, the organization was focused on bringing the Gospel of Christ in words and deeds. Tot Heil des Volks provided clothing, food, and schooling to poor families. When the government started offering education for all citizens, school buildings of Tot Heil des Volks ran empty.
During the Flower Power of the early 1970's the organization recognized the spiritual need of many hippies that were occupying the Vondelpark at night. Hence in the summer of 1971 Tot Heil des Volks turned one of the schools into a hostel. Our Youth Hostel Ministry was born.
Why do we focus on travelers?
From the very beginning, the Shelter hostels have always focused on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ among backpackers. Because backpackers are often not only on a physical journey but also on a spiritual journey. And they are open to interact with people of different cultures, backgrounds and interests. This brings opportunities to think about and discuss beliefs and the purpose of living with them. So when our first Christian hostel, the Shelter Jordan, opened in 1971, the goal was to offer shelter, extraordinary service and hospitality to hippies, whilst guiding them on their spiritual journey. This Christian hostel was a great success. So one year later, we opened a second school into a youth hostel: Shelter City.
Join our ministry team!
If you love to meet new people, live in an international Christian community, experience diverse cultures and share the gospel within a safe environment, join our ministry! Consider to do a gap year at the Shelter or join us for a few months.