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A visitor to Amsterdam nightlife, whatever his itinerary, will be greeted by a somewhat macabre mix of drugs, coffee bars, clubs, pubs, live-sex-shows, peep-shows, window girls, a postmodern paganism.
The “Old Church Coffee Shop,” for example, sits adjacent the Sexyland Erotic Supermarket. This is the reason of the live-and-let-live attitude of the local people.
Mostly in the Red light district, in the narrower alleys the audience consists of mainly foreign tourists on organized tour of the district.
The shops operate non stop, in the shop-windows illuminated by red lights are standing the girls (in most cases foreigners) and waiting for the customers also in daytime.
To take a photo anyway prohibited, the "ladies" exercising the oldest profession, do not like it, rather abscond from the photographers.
Though you might suspect otherwise this section of town seems thoroughly obsessed with sex. All of the houses have been converted into various erotic bars, theaters or other special establishments.
Warning: A study of the Dutch research centre for public health and environment (RIVM) shows that 7 percent of the prostitutes in large cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are infected by HIV. But never forget it's the most liberal place in Europe, legalizing sex/prostitution.
Opening times: around the clock
Prices: At peak times (11pm to 2am), when most of the girls are busy, expect to pay as much as €80. Only to walk around and look is FREE.
The main strip (no pun intended!!) of the Red Light District runs along either side of one of the many canals.
The street is lined with sex-shops, venues for live-sex shows etc and red-fluro light rimmed window after red-fluro light rimmed window of scantily clad temptresses, of all ages and size, standing in the windows.
Many of the windows conveniently opened right onto the street, so if you wanted to get better acquainted with one of the lovely ladies, they just open up the window, you can slip inside and then pull a curtain across the window....
You had to feel sorry for the fellows who, once satisfied, came back out onto the street, via the window, only to be met with the cheers of the passers-by!
OK. Might as well get the "smut" out of the way. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. There is this little-known place called "The Red Light District." My recommendation is to see this with someone you love. It's kind of nice to go "window shopping" or "comparison shopping," depending on your gender, I suppose. There are lots of little alleys that you can hurry through (or not, if you have leg, foot, or other medical problems; just go as quick as you are able).
To get to the Red Light District, all you have to do is to wander around Amsterdam until you see a large number of "large" young men (height, weight, and depth). They are there to tell you politely that it is not wise to take pictures of the area or of the female subjects. If you insist, they will strenuously insist right back. There are a goodly number of cameras at the bottom of the canals. They got there with their owners who hopefully could swim. Camera flashes at night draw a very "large" crowd very quickly. If you and your camera don't want a bath, DON'T TAKE PICTURES!
The last picture I took along one of the canals in the Red Light District. If you look closely, you can see red fluorescent lights in some of the windows. That signifies "Open for Business." Notice that this is a regular residential area. The apartments, for the most part, have nothing to do with the business.
the red light district is certainly a unique part of amsterdam. prostition in amsterdam dates back to the 13th century. known as de walletjes, (the little wallet), it attracted sailors for centuries. in the 16th century the calvinists tried to ban prostition in amsterdam but with little success. today the red light district is a garish area with prostitutes touting business from show windows, sex shops, and sleezy nightclubs. still this is a interesting place to visit. perfectly safe during the day with crowds of tourists roaming the streets, however use caution after dark and avoid the poorly lit alleys that bisect the area,
The tour meets daily at 6:45 pm next to the Tourist Information Center directly in front of Centraal Staation. Look for the guides wearing red New Europe T-shirts. €10 Adults/€8 Students. Now I'm not usually a real big fan of "tours" and the whole "tourist" "sightseeing" parts of travelling. I usually like to explore on my own. But this tour was very affordable and had an incredible tour guide who knew her history of the district and was extremely helpful with orientation to Amsterdam. I couldn't recommend any other tour "more" other than the accompanying "free" tour of Amsterdam each morning by the same company. They market the tour as "The Red Light District Exposed" and they certainly do an incredible job talking about every sensual or creepy corner of the district. They advertise with "Intrigued by the Red Light District at night but don't feel safe exploring it on your own?" and they perfectly show the area for its beauty, intrique, history, and that its quite safe - with a two hour walking tour wandering from coffee shops and jazz clubs to sex theaters and smart shops, prostitute windows, and condom shops, ending with free shots and cocktail specials at the infamous Belushi's bar. The guides take you to the Proefokaal and other Historic Bars, the World's first Stock Exchange, a stroll through China Town, window gazing at the Condomerie, to the Old Church, Jazz legend Chet Baker's place of death, the Warmoestraat: hardcore leather neighorhood, S&M Specialist, Smart Shops and a talk about Mushrooms, visits to the Sex Shops, Video Cabins, the Elite Streets, The Bulldog: Amsterdam's first "Coffeeshops", The Prostitution Information Center, the Word's first Sex Theater, the Newmarket, and many more intriguing locations. On the eve of April 8, 2009 - we were luckily blessed with a fabulous guide named "Stacey". Stacey was born in Russia, has lived in Canada, the US, Italy, and Malaysia, and now Amsterdam. She's studying Art History and completing her degree in Asian Studies. Friendly, courteous, and extremely intelligent, she's one of the best guides on the planet. The tour is worth the 10 Euro just to pick her brain about great places to eat, see, and experience nightlife. Top rating 5 stars out of 5. Thanks Stacey!!! We learned about Amsterdam's most revered mushroom shops, told about smart shops, warned about street junkies who try to peddle stuff like detergent and baby powder as drugs. We visited the Waag and Blood street, various famous live sex theaters, the condomerie, the gay bars, the city's first coffeeshop called "The Bulldog" (now a chain), where women rent the windows from, the security cameras and systems, the Prostitute Information Center to give the public information about the district, its services, prices, and safety. We strolled by many windows with much history and information presented by our guide on how it all works. "Red" lights designate women who will charge 50 euros for 15 minutes of sex and 2 positions, and charged extra for anything else. "Blue" lights are hermaphrodites and transgendered women; "blue and red lights" are women who specialize in S&M; there are no pimps and the women work for themselves, and easily choose who they will accept business from and who they won't, as we saw quite a few men turned down. The women can't walk into the street and communicate through the door which only opens from the inside. Most of the rooms have beds, and those with girls on stools have stairs leading up to a room upstairs. Each room is armed with an alarm which if triggered will instantly summon security guards and police. The women in the windows are of every nationality, size, shape, race, and age - all over 18 and all have to have EU citizenship to work. The windows higher above street level are the "classier" and "higher profile" prostitutes, who charge several hundred Euro. We were also toured through a building or mall where women are in the hallway inviting men to their rooms. Most of the prostitutes will only do men and will not service same-sex. The Dutch's open attitude about sex was explained and how "normal" it was in the district. We saw churches, kindergartens, and normal families with children walking the district just as normal as if they were in a shopping mall. The neighborhood has alot of history and beautiful architecture. The Kindergarten apparently is the "most shocking site in the Red Light District" and upon a news station presentation on its existence, interviews with the kids found that the kids believe that the women sell men kisses. Unfortunately the District is closing down. The city doesn't want to be famous for the district, the drugs, and the prostitution. They have essentially won the legislation to make mushrooms illegal in the city, the most exclusive brothel in town was purchased and closed, Over 50 windows have been closed and converted to clothing displays called "Red Light Fashion". Alot of the live sex theaters are closing. The city will be closing down a good percentage of the cafes. Much of the changes in the city will bring back gangs, pimping, trafficking in both humans and drugs, and bring back organized crime. Amsterdam will be lined up for a downturn if the government succeeds in its actions. Concern about the changes was outlined during the tour. I had no idea that this was going on. Its saddening in sorts because its such a big part of Amsterdam's history and attraction, freedom, and expression of "tolerance" and being the most liberal city on the planet. Its estimated that the Dutch government will shot down all marijuana coffeeshops and the Red Light District by the year 2015 being replaced by the "Red Light Fashion" and a "European Soho" filled with high-class art galleries and cocktail bars.
The Prostitution Information Center, or PIC, was approved in August 1994 by former prostitute Mariska Majoor.
The PIC gives to everyone who need to have information, information and advice in relation to prostitution in the broadest sense of the word. . For people who have questions about prostitution, the PIC is a fairly accessible place (middle of the Red Light in Amsterdam), where almost all questions can be answered or from which can be redirected to other organisations., prostitutes, their clients and students; everyone is welcome.
Please don't be afraid to try this - it's not seedy, and there's a lot more to this tour than staring at the girls in the windows.
Book at the Tourist Office outside the train station - it's a walking tour which lasts about 2.5 hours.
You'll be taken around the "red light district" by a very knowledgable guide who will tell you the history of the city, point out the different types of architectureand tell you the about the various gable styles on buildings. You'll also learn that property in this area is amongst the most expensive in Amsterdam.
There's a trip to a great little bar where they brew their own traditional liquers included, and you'll venture down small alleys you wouldn't dare tackle on your own. You'll be rewarded with views of cute courtyards and peaceful gardens, giving you an insight of how people really live in this sometimes misrepresented area of the city.
Yes, you do get to see the other bits too and perhaps if you're a little uncertain about the nature of business here it's a good idea to have a guide to lead the way. Rest assured, though, that it's not in any way dangerous and you won't look out of place just wandering about partaking in a spot of people watching!
This area is famous for its window prostitution, which is legal in Holland. The windows are illuminated by red lights, hence the name. Though you might suspect otherwise this section of town isn't really that seedy, and it's a common sight to see a busload of tourists take an organized tour of the district. Besides the windows the area sports various 'erotic' bars and theaters.
Keep in Mind:PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT ALLOWED!YOUR CAMERA MIGHT EVEN BE DESTROYED!
The Red Light District is pretty much of a must do in Amsterdam.
Whilst you get a general idea of what it is all about by having a walk round you get a better viewpoint if you just stay in one place and of course the best place to do this is a pub!
To those of you who know me through my other pages this will come as no surprise!
The Old Sailor is situated slap bang (for want of a better expression) in the middle of the area and has a really good atmosphere even though it does get very busy as the evening progresses.
Under no circumstances even attempt to order food here at night, unless of course you like being laughed at - "This is a pub: we sell BEER!" was the barman's reply to a couple who came in looking for food.
Immediately opposite the Old Sailor is a brothel and it is fascinating to watch the punters comings and goings (once again for want of a better expression!) - the curtains being drawn, only to be reopened a couple of mins later and the guys leaving with quite a variety of expressions - these have to be seen to be believed!
So your telling me that you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, and know nothing about the Red Light District. Well, than we may want to rethink our trip! :) The Red Light District is a must for anyone visiting Amsterdam, even if you don't plan on a big dose of SIN during your trip. There are great restaurants, souvenir shops, and tons of coffee shops, along with all the window candy that is for rent. The magnificent Oude Kerk church is also on the northern end of the district. Check it out, if you're a sinner or not!
No trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a walk through the red light district! While it was interesting and fascinating, it was also annoying having drunk and high men bothering us constantly. We thought we would be okay as we were there during the day. It is a very unique area and must be explored.I have heard from others that the sex shows are also quite interesting. Had we been in a group, we would have done that.....maybe next time!
Situated in the heart of the city centre this famous district is popular with tourists.Covering several blocks of the city south of the Oude Kirk and crossed by several canals.De Wallen consists of a network of alleys containing over three hundred tiny one room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door.The rooms are usually lit with a red light,hence the term Red Light District of Amsterdam.The area also has a number of sex shops,sex theatres,peep shows and numerous bars and coffee shops.Popular with gangs of lads on a weekend trip or a stag event(popular with groups of women also) the area is also popular with the average tourist who is just curious and wants to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.the area is generally quite safe with regular police patrols and door men everywhere.You are not allowed to take photos of the working girls,do so at your own risk,it may get messy and you might find your camera at the bottom of a canal or worse.Please respect this.
This area in the medieval centre attracts a large number of tourists & some go home a great deal porrer then they intended.
Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 1810 & brothels in 2000
78% of the Dutch public have no problems with prostitution but only 5% of working girls are born in Holand. There are about 380 windows to choose from & a typical "session" may last 15 min of wham bam thank you Mam
The police patrol the area regularly.
Don't take photo's here cause you will be asking for trouble
The red light dates back to early 1300 when women carrying red lanterns met sailors at port & the light is rather flattering
There are windows, a range of sex shows, porn shops and coffee shops here & regular den of eniquity - If you look beyond the prostitutes etc the area is rather charming with some pretty canals
Hobbling on the cobblestones in the red light district I found this sculpture embedded into the sidewalk, between the sidewalk stones of the Ouderkerksplein and the square that surrounds the Old Church in the Red Light District is a fettered bronze/iron sculpture of a hand caressing a breast. This sculpture was left secretly in the wee hours of the night and, over the last 15 years, this same unknown artist has placed numerous bronze and iron statues all over town, anomynously in the night. The identity of the artist has recently been discovered and he is a local doctor who does this public art in his spare time. The City of Amsterdam has since accepted his works as long as the identity of the artist is never revealed. This particular sculpture is a bronze female bust on the pavement in front of the Oude Kerk on Oudekerksplein square. It represents the women of the Red Light District.
Amsterdam is famous (or infamous, however you like it!) for its Red-Light districts. The range of establishments in the area varies from brothels and sex shops to museums and live shows, and leaves little to the imagination. Whether you are just window-shopping or wanting to buy something, there is likely to be a place or two, that cater to everyone.
Amsterdam prides itself on its liberal and tolerant attitude, and the Dutch law enables the functioning of brothels as licensed legal businesses. The individuals working in these establishments are treated like any other self-employed tradespersons. They have access to the social security system, may join unions and pay income tax. The government ensures that they work in better conditions by regulating and monitoring working practices and standards.
The 'Walletjes' area is one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city with its long winding narrow, cobbled streets and charming 14th century architecture, such as the Gothic Oudekerk (Old Church). The area oozes charm with its buildings that lean at odd-angles and the tree-enshrouded canals. There are also several restaurants and eateries and it no longer is a dark and seedy part of town due to recently resurfaced streets, restored façades and trendier clientele to the area. In September 2007, the city bought 18 buildings in the area and aims to convert almost 1/3 of the 150 'windows' into flats and boutiques.
For those not easily offended, there are plenty of live shows at 'Casa Rosa' and 'Moulin Rouge'. For the merely curious, there are numerous peep shows that may come with video booths. For the more adventurous, there are more interactive shows (de Bananenbar). Exactly what goes on in these places is up to you to discover.
To make sure you get the best out of the area, don't at any circumstances take photos of the women working in the windows!