Amsterdam is known as a city of free morals, a lot of what is illegal in other countries is legalized here: soft drugs, same-sex marriage, prostitution. Many are attracted here primarily by freedom and looseness. The red light district is a landmark of Amsterdam, where the flow of tourists does not dry out. Someone is attracted here by curiosity, someone wants to use the services of night butterflies, someone likes other sex industry offers that are found here at every step. Whatever the attitude to this area of the city, one cannot but admit that without visiting the Red Light District, acquaintance with the life of the capital of Holland would be incomplete.
Amsterdam has long been a city of sailors, because it is one of the largest ports in Europe. And for sailors, after a long voyage, the need for female affection is especially strong. In response to increased demand, there are always many offers. For a long time women have been rushing to Amsterdam, like to other port cities, ready to console starving men for a monetary reward.
Until the beginning of the XV century, the city authorities tried to protect pious citizens from corrupt women and expelled prostitutes from the walls of the city. But over time, the representatives of the ancient profession were assigned the area of De Wallen, which has long been the haven of sailors. At first, prostitutes and their clients found each other on the streets of this district, and then women began to move to brothels, which was much more convenient for everyone.
To identify places where you can buy love joys, the organizers of this business began to use red lights. The choice of this particular color of the lamps is connected with the idea of red as the color of passion, as well as the fact that such a lighting spectrum hides appearance flaws, presenting the priestesses of love in the most advantageous form. For the first time in the world, the phrase “red light district” was mentioned in a newspaper article of the late 19th century, although this phenomenon arose much earlier.
The Catholic Church, unlike the Protestant, was very tolerant of prostitution. Since the end of the XVII century, neither the church nor the authorities obstructed the work of the moths, and the number of brothels in De Wallen increased. Since the XVIII century, respectable residents began to move to other areas of Amsterdam, and De Wallen became exclusively the place of work of priestesses of love, where sailors and lovers of paid sexual pleasures from all over Amsterdam and the vicinity flocked.
Due to the lack of contraception and medical control, Amsterdam’s Red Light District became a hotbed of sexually transmitted diseases. Only with the occupation of Holland by French troops at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries were prostitutes subjected to registration and medical examination. The army leadership took care of this issue in order to protect their soldiers from infection. Women who did not pass the test lost their right to engage in prostitution. In addition, under French law, this activity was forbidden to persons under the age of 21 years.
Since 1878, a social movement against prostitution began in Amsterdam. The result of his activity was a law passed in 1911 in the Netherlands prohibiting the maintenance of brothels and living on the income from the operation of prostitutes.
The law only affected pimps and brothel owners, while sex workers themselves were not prosecuted. This gave impetus to the development of window prostitution. Women independently rented small rooms with a showcase window, in which they showed themselves, waiting for customers. In the same rooms behind closed curtains, they rendered their services. So the Red Light District in Amsterdam lost its traditional brothels, turning into a place of prosperity for window prostitution.
Since 1985, a public movement for the rights of prostitutes has unfolded in Amsterdam. As a result of his activities in 1988, the government of the Netherlands recognized the work of a prostitute as a profession, and, starting in October 2000, prostitution was legalized. Since then, the ban on opening brothels has been lifted, prostitutes are required to periodically undergo medical examinations and have medical certificates. They pay taxes and contributions to the country’s pension fund.
However, already 7 years after the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands, the country’s leadership acknowledged that this decision was erroneous. According to the mayor of Amsterdam, the legalization of prostitution has led to the deterioration of the criminal situation in the Quarter, the incidence of violence and sexual slavery.
In this regard, the number of brothels in the Netherlands, in particular, on the street of the Red Light, is steadily decreasing. But, despite such a course of the Dutch government, it is unlikely that this Quarter in Amsterdam will cease to exist in the foreseeable future. After all, the business of sexual services is in demand, and if it is prohibited, it will go into the category of the shadow economy.
Please note: What to bring from Amsterdam – souvenir ideas from Holland .
What the quarter looks like today
If you ask what the name of the Red Light District in Amsterdam is called, the answer will be – De Wallen. Rather, this is the name of the oldest and most famous quarter of its kind. But besides him there are two more quarters having the same profile. These are Singelgebid and Reusdalcade, who, together with De Wallen, form the dominant sex industry in Amsterdam called Rosse Bürth. In total, it unites about 20 streets and covers an area of approximately 6.5 km2.
Red Light Street on a map of Amsterdam is located between the dam and Nieuwmarkt Market in the east, and Warmoesstraat in the West. From the north and south this area is bordered by Lange Niezel and Sint Jansstraat.
Since De Wallen is one of the oldest in Amsterdam, its architecture is designed in a medieval style, although most of the buildings were erected today. When asked where the Red Light District is located, they most likely mean the central street of the De Wallen quarter – Oudezijds Achterburgwal, which is located on both sides of the canal.
Crowded rows of two and three-story houses are reflected in the water surface. Contrary to the name, the lanterns along the canal are ordinary, red light pours from large, closely spaced windows and glass doors. A red backlight complementary to the skin allows you to see behind the glasses of women in underwear who offer themselves as sexual partners.
There are women for every taste – of different ages, body types, races and nationalities. Prices start at € 50/20 minutes for a standard package of services. If the term is exceeded or a greater variety is desired, the price tag increases sharply. To prevent this, it is necessary to stipulate the terms of the transaction in advance. There is also its own elite, whose price tag is significantly higher than average.
The rooms in which the priestesses of love provide services are very small, but they have everything you need. In addition to the bed, each room has at least a sink, soap and paper towels for hygienic procedures; a stock of condoms is always available. For the safety of workers, each room is equipped with an alarm button.
With a prostitute you can agree and get the service right away by entering her small room and closing the curtain on the window. You can call her and the house by phone, which is indicated outside the window. Occasionally windows come across illuminated by lilac – transvestites offer their services behind them. Lovers of blue in this area will not find a partner for themselves, they provide these services in another place – on the shore of Amstela.
On a note! Find cheap accommodation in Amsterdam on this page .
In addition to window prostitutes, other sex industry establishments work in this area of Amsterdam: sex shops, peep shows, sex theaters, strip bars, and coffee shops. There is also a church – the oldest religious building in Amsterdam, which is called the Old Church. Her age is more than 800 years. At the church there is a monument to the tireless worker of the sex industry. Nearby, right on the pavement, you can see a naked female chest with a male hand lying on it, cast in bronze.
Among the tourists who daily walk around the Quarter, there are much more curious people than those who came for the joys of sex. However, in such an area of Amsterdam as the Red Light District, photos can only be taken near architectural objects. If it is noticed that prostitutes are in the picture, the consequences for the photographer and his photographic equipment can be disastrous.
Sex entertainment in the Red Light District is for every taste and budget. For only € 2 you can visit a video booth where you can watch porn or peep shows in solitude. If the catcher likes it, it can be extended by throwing coins into the machine.
The curious will be interesting to visit the Erotic Museum of Amsterdam, where you can learn a lot about the history of the development of erotica and porn, see many amazing sex exhibits. A visit to this museum will cost € 7.
In Amsterdam there is another similar museum – the Sex Museum. What to expect from his visit, see this page .
In the sex theaters “Red House” and “Moulin Rouge” you can watch striptease, erotic shows, programs of all kinds of exciting tricks. Ticket prices – € 25-40 depending on the selected program.
Another attraction of the Quarter is the famous condominium store, striking the imagination with a variety of assortment and original interior. Here you can not only purchase everything you need for high-quality sex, but also go through a condom selection workshop.
And, of course, there are a large number of bars and coffee shops. According to their location, most bars in the Red Light District show striptease. In coffee shops you can taste another forbidden fruit available in Amsterdam – marijuana.
Going to this place, you should know that the main life here begins from 20.00 and lasts until 2-3 in the morning. It was at this time that all of the above entertainment venues were opened.
A selection of the best coffee shops of the city and the rules of conduct in such institutions, see this article .
The red light district in Amsterdam, a photo of which can be seen on our website, is considered one of the safest in the world to receive paid sexual services. However, this security is relative, many pickpockets, drag dealers are operating in the area, and passers-by drunk and drugged with drugs can meet. Therefore, being on its streets, in institutions, and even visiting the hostess of a room with a display window, do not forget about your safety.
- It is not safe to walk alone. When traveling to this area, invite at least one other person. And it’s better – two, so that the friend does not wait for you alone if you decide to use the services of a prostitute.
- Do not bring valuables, large sums of money with you. And even taking only the necessary minimum, do not forget to control your pockets and bag.
- If you decide to take a picture of the Red Light District, this photo may be the last shot taken with your camera or phone. Taking pictures of prostitutes is strictly prohibited. When caught in this occupation, photographic equipment ruthlessly breaks and rushes into the channel. Moths and their guards vigilantly ensure that this rule is not violated. Even if it seems to you that you are not being seen, this impression may be misleading. On the walls of houses there are special mirrors for tracking offenders.
- Do not talk with strangers and suppress any offers of drug dealers.
- Do not pursue all the pleasures at once. If you have sex on the agenda, do not combine it with visiting a coffee shop, taking drugs and a lot of alcohol. This can adversely affect both your safety and potency.
- If you decide to use the services of a prostitute, then the best time for this is about 20 hours, the beginning of the “shift”, when the women are still full of energy after the rest.
- Carefully choose a partner, tell about your preferences in sex in advance and find out the full price so that it does not become an unpleasant surprise for you. Excessive thinness, dilated pupils, inadequate behavior indicate drug addiction. It is better not to mess with such women.
Red Light Street is an integral part of Amsterdam, causing burning interest among visitors to this city. Everyone who comes to Holland should come here to see this side of the Dutch life and get their impressions from it.