Red Light District

Red Light District: Legalized Prostitution in Amsterdam

The Red Light District is one of the most famous places in Amsterdam and is widely known for its windows where prostitutes show their bodies in a natural and legal way. Despite the type of activity carried out, the Red Light District attracts tourists of all kinds, from onlookers, couples and also men looking for the services offered. We visited this place during our visit to Amsterdam and below you will find our impressions of walking through its narrow streets.

How to get to the Red Light District?

How to get to the Red Light District
How to get to the Red Light District

The Red Light District is located in central Amsterdam in the De Wallen district. It starts near Amsterdam Centraal Station and ends at Damstraat which is one of the streets that leave Dam Square. Below you see a map of where the district is located:

You will pass this place a few times during a city ​​tour, but if you need to take any transport, the 4, 9, 16, or 24 trams pass through Damrak, which is next to the Red Light District. See our post showing how to use public transport in Amsterdam.

Red Light District

The Red Light District is close to Amsterdam’s waterfront and this was the main reason prostitution flourished there. As we saw in the Amsterdam Museum that tells more about the city’s history, in the 14th century the city developed as an important commercial center and the crew of the ships looked for places in the city to have fun. From that time on, prostitution became part of the neighborhood’s routine and, despite some attempts by the authorities, the De Wallen district continued to receive many visitors and in the 17th-century prostitution was officially legalized.

When we say that prostitution has been officially legalized, it is not just because women can show off in their windows. Like any registered profession, they have rights and duties, paying income taxes, receiving social assistance from the government, and organizing themselves in associations that fight for their rights.

There are women for all tastes. Most are thin, but also have the fattest. There are also many blondes, although there is also a wide range of brunettes. In other words, for those looking for women’s services, they will certainly find one that is of the customer’s taste. If you come in and hire the services, the window is closed with a curtain and you will be taken to the back where there is a room that they rent for the night. We are talking a lot about women who are the majority in the Red Light District, but there are also transvestites who are differentiated from women by the color of the window light. In general, if the light is red she is a woman and if the light is blue she is a transvestite.

Photographs are prohibited and it is advisable to follow this rule. Women hire people who walk in plain clothes on the streets and, if you are caught trying to take a photo in front of the windows, you can be approached by one of these people (or by the women themselves) to delete the photos from the camera or, depending on the mood, your camera may be destroyed or dropped into a channel.

In addition to the famous shop windows, the neighborhood is also full of other activities: nightclubs, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, erotic cinemas, striptease houses, and other activities. There is even a museum, Red Light Secrets, that tells more about the neighborhood and the lifestyle of the local prostitutes. The most curious thing is that all these lives in harmony with the neighborhood, which also has schools, parks, churches, and families that walk through the narrow streets of the neighborhood.

Paying a visit to the Red Light District is an activity that is done by almost all tourists who visit the city and is a great way to see Amsterdam as it is shown in the media. Despite this, remember that the city also offers a multitude of museums, parks and has many more attractions to be seen.

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