This neighbourhood is maybe the most famous item in the world if it is about tourism and Amsterdam. Everyone immediately jumps to this conclusion and not without being right. The "Wallen" (Kay, Dike, stretch of hightened land along a canal or river) or "Walletjes" (little "Wallen") are a folk area that now houses the prostitution district with the many red lights. Surrounding the old church, this part has however also some other interesting things. It is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam and many houses are really magnificently kept monuments. It is a district with a whole own character, which has nothing to do with criminal behaviour. So, when walking here, don't only look into the windows and into the nice ladies eyes (or 30 cm lower), but gaze up to the facades and discover the other side of the Red Light District (more about the "Wallen" under custom-tips).
Purveyors of sex in this oldest section of Amsterdam were documented as early as 1275, near the harbor for visiting sailors and land-locked wannabes. Over the centuries, despite occasional attempts at control fostered by religious and political groups, the sex industry has thrived in this area ( and a few others scattered through the city as well including one near the Rijksmuseum ). The term however originated in a Milwaukee Wisconsin newspaper in 1894 and was rapidly adopted throughout the world. De Wallen derives from a wall built to shield the low-lying neighborhood from the sea. Prostitution, excluding streetwalkers, was legalized in 2000 ostensibly to diminish exploitation and forced servitude for the women, but probably just as important income became taxable by the government.
The sex workers behind the windows lit in red neon ( and for other 'variants' blue neon ) wear next to nothing, knock on the windows to attract interest from likely passerbys, and negotiate through open doorways. Few are Dutch, most are eastern European, with a smattering of other ethnicities. Many are very attractive, as noted by my beloved P. Room rentals for the girls are up to 150Eu for an 8 hour rental, so services apparently are quite speed oriented. A basic 50-60Eu fee ( according to internet services ) gets one some oral stimulation, satisfaction, and a quick trip to the exit, usually within 15-20 minutes. Anything extra, such as a modicum of foreplay, and the fees rise quickly. No pictures, no kissing, no ***, and mild S&M at an agreed upon extra cost exclusively at the discretion of the vendor.
As is usually the case in any neighborhood, there is a lot more to this district than its namesake service. The townhouses and narrow pedestrianized walkways are among the oldest in the city, and there are churches including the Old Church, good restaurants and decent hotels. Offerings include sex shows and theatres as well as museums for sex and marijuana ( most all described as tourist traps ). Perhaps the most fascinating venues are the shops selling sexual paraphernalia - amazing open in presentation, with frank and knowledgeably salesmen, they offer an astounding variety of devices of varying complexity at far more reasonable costs than in the United States.
Prostitution is legal – in the Red Light District. It is licensed and controlled by the Government. Women working in the trade do have health checks. Throughout the area women stand inside glass doors and ‘advertise’. They rent spaces that contain beds, toilets and other fixtures needed for their business. All of these rooms have a panic alarm and security that is sometimes the big hairy bloke standing in the street next to you. If a curtain is closed over that usually means either they have not arrived for work yet, or are actively at work.
The ladies will stop and talk to you, but not for long when they realise you are not coming in for business.
Interested in renting a space? Look for signs with the details of the agents.
Amsterdam IS a Must See Activity :) This is a almost like a fairy tale like place if you choose to soak in the atmosphere that is around you. Tinkling bike bells, and the rattle of bikes on the cobble-stome. And dotted with Coffee Shops (Hash Bars). This is a very safe place. People can be misled connecting the famous Red Light District with violence and criminalism placing a fear with Amsterdam. This it is not. Amsterdam has the lowest criminal ratio per person in all of Europe. I felt real safe. One guy followed us, talking dutch, think he was drunk or doped/stoned. He also looked as if you could easily push him off, even i felt that i could do it. He was shouting at us, looking for money or something. We just paced onwards at a little quicker speed, he eventually lost track as even this was too fast for him to be bothered follwoing on, and so he just slumbered on elsewhere. This I tend to be calling harmless, you can decide this for yourself. I could talk for pages about Amsterdam and how great it is. But its not the sites and museums alone that are attractive. I will be returning for a third, and subsequent times...The culture is fab, and a touch away from reality with the general acceptance of soft drugs usage. Shopping is great, really great. Clothes, great quality, very reasonably priced, very nice, garden bulbs, plants, cactus etc... :) I affectionately call Amsterdam Damsterdam. Go there if you can. I wont say go out of your way to, I may have flowered it up too much, and it can be cold/rainy/dull, but if you are anywhere closeby, then make it a must. Accom. is quite reasonable and plentiful too. There are loads and loads of places to go to. Tastes for everybody. Found when we got there, tho it wasnt advertised : A Zoo. There are lots of places to poke out. Whatever you choose to do in Damsterdam...Enjoy :-)
Don't miss the RLD. At a minimum, it is an interesting walk-thru to see. The window ladies range from young & beautiful, to older and much heavier (everyone has their own tastes I guess). If you enjoy adult themes, there are plenty of porn/sex shops, and just many things you don't see in the U.S.
We found it to be clean and safe.
There are bars in the RLD. We enjoyed these the most as it was a great place to meet & chat w/ other international tourists. It's an area full of tourists where most are out to have a good time.
If you are interested in more than just window shopping, that is easy too. The universal cost for a girl is 50 Euro. But it is important to be clear about expectations upfront, otherwise everything else becomes an extra charge. (such as don't assume the girl is going to get completely nude, or allow you to touch other parts of her body - unless that was first negotiated). We were pleased w/ our experiences. The sex industry is legal and regulated, that shows.
Also - be warned that window 'girls' with blue lights above them are transsexuals.....don't make an embarssing mistake.
Amsterdam is famous for its openess. This includes prostitution. The Walletjes along the Voorburghwal Canal is the center of the red light district and contains the window girls. Taking pictures of the girls will get you in trouble but I managed to sneek this discreet picture of the general area.
People (tourists), old, young alike, both genders, with spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends, friends, siblings or just alone like me compose the long queue that just walks past each of the alleys looking at windows on both sides. Its an experience to remember. I have seen some people knocking on the windows from time to time and having deals with the girls, sometimes, a serious deal and sometimes just out of curiosity with talking with one. I was there around 5.30 in the evening, so really dark, but not "Night" so to say. So I don't really know if it is advisable to go at night.
This area also has lots of sex shops, pubs, aex museums (!!!), cafes, stores that you can buy "Souvenirs" from. It is very touristy place and is located close to the Centraal Railway station. Just a few minutes walk from there. Dutch law is said to be very liberal and and it legalises the functioning of brothels as licensed legal businesses. The people working in these places are like normal other self-employed persons and are well accepted in society and do also pay income taxes.
And look at the photo here. I found something that reminded me of India as well (though not really). But its fun to see something like this.
If pain is your game, you can get it here. Personally I hated when my parents ever beat me and it sure never turned me on. In fact it hurt a lot.
To each his own. They will even provide a rubber chicken to bite on and I have seen some of their whips - from a safe distance.
So here I was on my last visit to Amsterdam idling away an hour or so at The Old Sailor with a couple of beers and watching the world go by when this pair of pics presented themselves as an "Upstairs, Downstairs" set and so just had to use them here.
PS if pic #2 is too lewd for you don't enlarge it!
PPS As someone once enquired - "What sort of pussy do you prefer?"
Me, I just like a soft fluffy one. I HATE cats though ;)
I booked the Dark Amsterdam walking tour with the company on the internet before I went. The tour starts about 8pm from their main office in Damrak. A group of about 12 of us got taken around the red light district and given a potted history of the area and had the most interesting architectural features pointed out. All of which is totally irrelevant as you will be walking down the lanes thinking Oh My God, as you walk past the windows with virtually naked young women wearing flourescent bikinis under UV lights! OMG! lol
The tour included a visit to the Prostitution Information Centre, where the owner, a former Red Light District worker named Mariska Majoor wanted to provide a resource for sex workers and tourists alike. She's an attractive, intelligent woman with a plain speaking manner who happily answered questions and explained the prostitution system in Amsterdam and a little about her life.
I would normally have a few photos linked to this review but it was made quite clear at the start of the tour that any obvious photo taking held the risk of your camera being 'accidentally' bumped into the canal. Believe me you won't have time to look through a lens anyway, just savour the experience. OMG!
Price: € 21
Amsterdam must have a lot of cosmetic surgeons who do breast enhancements non-stop somewhere nearby. Virtually all the working girls have had some sort of enlargement. A few even have ones of comical proportions. Want a gift to take home? Get the business card of their doctor! They do a good job from what I could see!
"De walletjes" as de Dutch like to call the red light district is a very nice place right in the city centre. The area didn't interest me too much, but recenly I thought during the day, why not visit it right now and so I did. It was quite boring I have to say and I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. A few weeks later I visited again, but now around 11pm, and wow the place was crowded!! When you are on Dam square you haven't a clue that so many people are visiting this are of the city. At least I had no clue. It was great with all those red lights...hence the name...haha... and all the women showing their products and trying to get your interest by ticking the windows which they are behind. This is a place I will take everyone who want to experience Amsterdam!! A real must see!
Wander through the most exciting district in Amsterdam. Thousands of girls displaying themselves in the windows. Tourists mix with pimps, drunks, drug dealers...
By the way, prostitution was legalised in 1810, but pimping is not legal.
If you are a girl, I am sorry, several years ago some men started to stand behind the windows, but no woman dared to enter...
Funny urinary the Dutch way: easy and useful, isn't it?
North - Sea
South - Damstrat / Oude Doelenstraat / Oude Hoogstraat
East - Zeedijk/Nieuwmarket / Kloveniersburgwal
West - Warmoesstraat
It's not all that bad, as long as you just look. I've seen department store ads worse then this. It's a fairly safe area. We walked through in the afternoon and later at night. Don't take photos, but it's ok to look around. It's interesting to see how something we in the states see as an illegal act...or even worse, a SIN, can seem like such an everyday occurance. For a real treat, step into a "novelty" shop.
You should be prepared for well groomed men in suits asking you to watch banana shows and the like! There's also a chance someone will ask you if you're looking for cocca. These are both easily avoided.
Unless of course you're into these things!
Sounds exciting doesn’t it boys? I have to say I have actually never bothered with this. I know at least 15 guys who have seen them and they said it was somewhere between boring to disgusting. Some things should just never be put in/pulled out of a sensitive area (male or female). All the guys I know said that the performers looked bored, the men on stage were always ugly freaks and ladies not too good looking. 20 years ago I was told a couple just got on a bed and did it. Now they put on a whole production on stage. Don’t bother. You are in the red light district and can do anything you want except for goats. Actually that’s not true, they sell movies of goats.
Save your money, drink beer and shout at the prostitutes from a safe distance. It’s what I do.
(And rate this tip or I'm telling your wife you were reasearching sex shows)