This page gives an overview of some other activities and services of the Schiphol Airport Chaplaincy. Following is a description of these activities and Services.
A video on YouTube also gives a very good impression of the activities and services of Schiphol Airport Chaplaincy. The video is in Dutch with English subtitles. The video is about 6 minutes long. Click on the VIDEO link to see the video on YouTube.
The airport chaplaincy provides for one Sunday church service at 11:00. The chaplains lead the service from the liturgy and tradition of their own denomination, but in an inclusive manner - all are welcome to attend and participate regardless of denominational background. The congregation varies in size from week to week - from just a few to around 40. Knowing that the fellow Christians with whom one is gathered will, within twenty-four hours, literally be scattered around the globe brings a poignant realisation of what it means to be part of the worldwide church. In this room Christians who might otherwise never have anything to do with those of other denominations sit side by side and share the peace of Christ.
Assistance in cases of death
Good contacts are maintained with all the major travel insurers in the Netherlands. They provide for the repatriation of passengers whenever there has been a death outside the Netherlands - when a partner or family member dies while on a trip, or when a family member back home dies. The family will want to meet the traveller as soon as possible upon return, and receiving them in a hectic arrivals hall is hardly suitable. The airport chaplaincy is contacted and provides for family members to be accompanied to the gate, where they can have their initial family time in some privacy. Sometimes accompaniments involve German or Belgian travellers whose port of entry back into Europe is Amsterdam.
The airport chaplaincy has, within the framework of the overall emergency plan, a distinct function described in the protocol for disasters response at Schiphol airport. In cases of emergency, depending on the size and nature of the incident, the airport chaplaincy is responsible for calling up co-workers and pastors/ministers in the region. Regular training days are held to maintain preparedness.
As with many transportation centres, Schiphol Airport - also a major train station - has its share of homeless persons who make it their "home". Schiphol Plaza, a covered shopping arcade just outside of airline arrivals and just above the train station, is an ideal place in the eyes of the homeless: dry, warm, busy, and plenty of people discarding leftover food on their way to train or air-plane. In 2002 the airport chaplaincy played a leading role in bringing a permanent presence of the Salvation Army to Schiphol, and this organisation now maintains an intake centre for the homeless who seek help. The airport chaplaincy continues to fulfil an advisory role in the development of care for the homeless.
The airport chaplaincy receives many requests for help which it itself is not able to fulfil. In such cases it is of vital importance to know how to steer the request in the right direction. As such, maintaining relations with, and understanding how other assistance organisations operate, is a key function of the airport chaplaincy. These organisations are the most frequent guests at the bimonthly meeting of chaplaincy volunteers, giving presentations on their work that will enable us to provide seamless overall care of travellers or employees.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is one of the few airports that have a fully operational mortuary, capable of handling up to 40 bodies. On average the mortuary deals with approximately 2000 bodies per year, about 60 % of which are in repatriation or transit to foreign places of burial and 40% are returning to the Netherlands. On occasion the airport chaplaincy will be called in to accompany the bereaved on their visit to the mortuary.
Click on a link to open a document. In the Wings & Prayers publications our chaplain describes several events he experienced as a chaplain of the Schiphol Airport Chaplaincy in Amsterdam.