In 1955, Jean Wilken, a young Dutch nurse, was a volunteer at the Emmaus Neuilly-Plaisance communi-ty. There, he looked after guests at the international youth hostel and meeting place. A Dutch newspaper published an interview with him. On his return to the Netherlands, a reader invited him to tell of his experiences in a parish in Eindhoven. The following Sunday, the priest spoke of him in a ser-mon, and a collection box went round at the end of the service for Emmaus’s work; the amount raised surpassed all expectations. Other churches followed suit, and the organisation of Emmaus Friends was set up in September 1956. People donated clothes, which the organisation sorted through and sent off for initiatives in the third world. In 1958, they launched the magazine Faim & Soif in Dutch. The first Emmaus community in the Netherlands opened its doors in 1966 in Haarzuilens, near Utrecht.
In the Netherlands Emmaus consists of 14 groups, partly communities with and partly groups without facilities to live there. Together they have 20 thrift stores. All groups are focused on important goals: giving people opportunities to live their lives meaningfully and to help them to get back on track from a problematic situation; improve the environment by sorting and reusing discarded products as much as possible; giving people with a small purse the opportunity to buy clothes and things for little money; donate money that we have left over to charities at home and abroad. The people at Emmaus put the values of the international Emmaus movement into practice.
Federatie Emmaus Nederland has the following goals and activities: providing and forming a platform and consultative body for member organisations in the Netherlands; promoting, supporting and coordinating the activities of Emmaus International's member organisations; promoting the quality of our work by organising educational and collaborative activities; promoting new communities and groups in the Netherlands; functioning as a negotiating partner with the national authorities for the solution of social problems; representing Emmaus on a national scale in public and private bodies; protecting the name of Emmaus and Abbé Pierre as well as the Emmaus International logo; giving advice on the applications for membership of Emmaus International from the members of the Netherlands; defending the ethical orientation of Emmaus International, and furthermore everything that is directly or indirectly related to or may be conducive to this, all in the broadest sense of the word.