Red Light District
Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District, known locally as de Wallen, is the largest area of its kind in the Netherlands and a major tourist attraction. Located in the oldest part of the city, in the very centre just seconds from Dam Square, it extends across several blocks and circles the Oude Kerk (Old Church). Several pretty canals cut through the centre of this extremely unique area and the pink and red neon lights reflect atmospherically in the water. There can be no confusion about what happens in this most famous of city districts. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands (with the exception of street walking). Sexual services are provided here from around 300 tiny one-room cabins which look out onto the many streets and alleyways. Each one is illuminated by a red light outside and visitors are encouraged to file past the glass windows and doors and engage with the women if they so wish. Don’t be afraid to explore these narrow streets, it is considered to be a very safe place these days. It is certainly a fascinating area to visit at night when the area really comes to life. Please understand it is not allowed to take photos of the windows, no matter how tempting. The consequences for you will not be favourable.
Since Prostitution is legal the women are, in effect, self employed and therefore pay tax as with any other employment situation. In theory this gives women the chance to control their own lives and eradicates pimps. The reality is far more complicated and the district remains a predictably controversial issue for the city. Concerns around human trafficking have most recently come to the fore and the future of the Red Light District in its present form is far from secure.
As you can imagine, the area is very popular with groups of visitors to the city on hen and stag weekends. You will find dozens of strip clubs and bars providing live sex shows as well as busy pubs and laid back coffee shops selling cannabis. New laws in the Netherlands will however restrict the sale of cannabis to local residents only who must also own a special registration card.
Historically the Red Light District has existed here continuously since the 14th century originally catering mainly to sailors arriving at the port. Despite the constant public debates, governmental legislation changes and human rights concerns it remains arguably the city’s most popular tourist attraction. We have many Red Light District apartments available for your selection.
Red Light District Highlights.
Clearly there are many unusual sights in this most iconic of city districts. Understandably you may not wish to stare at the ladies trying to earn a living from their glass booths. There are however other things to see in the area which include the world's first monument to sex workers which is installed on the Oudekerksplein in front of the Oude Kerk. The small sculpture shows a woman standing in a doorway.
The area also boasts one of the city’s two sex museums where you can learn about the history of sexual attitudes throughout history. The Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum also provides an interesting historic background to the uses of this rather beautiful plant and a chance to see several varieties of it growing happily in the ‘Garden Exhibit’.
Running alongside the Red Light District is the beautiful Zeedijk (Sea Dyke) – a winding street that is part of Amsterdam’s China Town. Here you can find all kinds of interesting Chinese food shops and gift boutiques. Look out for the marvellous and unexpected giant Chinese Temple that nestles amongst the 16th century Dutch townhouses. It’s a surprising find!
Our Red Light District Apartments.
This has become a very popular and vibrant district ideal for groups of fun seeking visitors to the city. We have therefore procured a wide selection of outstanding properties for hire here of varying sizes. The unique atmosphere and amazing central location of this neighbourhood is ideal as a base for all your adventures in the city. Simply state the date of your visit and click the search button for availability information. If you need further assistance or have any questions then please contact our helpful and friendly support team.
Note: This information was accurate at time of posting but often establishments change without notice. Please be sure to confirm details directly with the locations before making plans. Copyright 2012.
by James Fisher