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Amsterdam Travel Guide > Red Light District

The Amsterdam Red Light District


Probably you have heard about the Amsterdam Red-Light District as this is a very famous section in the Netherlands. Much to your surprise, what you may have heard is true! Here are some facts about the Amsterdam Red-Light District, a place unlike any place else.

The famous Amsterdam Red-Light District covers a large area in the oldest part of the city. It has been servicing the personal needs and desires of locals and visitors for five centuries, and thanks to the old buildings leaning at odd angles overlooking the tree-enshrouded canals that a certain charm tempts you to linger longer in the area. In this district, music of every genre can be heard along the streets from a dozen or more places late at night. And, it is the classier restaurants, redone streets, and revamped facades that transform what once dark and dingy into one of the most attractive parts of town - the Amsterdam Red-Light District.

Red light disctrict in Amsterdam Amsterdam's  (in)famous red light district

Prostitution in the District

Did you know that prostitution is legal in the Netherlands? Yes, it is! It is most concentrated in the Amsterdam Red-Light District where it has enjoyed a long tradition of tolerance. It has been reported that since October 2000, window prostitutes have been allowed to legally ply their trade. Much to your surprise, the prostitutes in the Netherlands are also taxpayers. However, discrimination is still very much part and parcel in this kind of trade as a number of the prostitutes reported that some banks even refuse to grant mortgages for instance.

Now, as a legal profession, the government ensures that all prostitutes are able to access medical care and work in better conditions by way of regulating and monitoring working practices and standards. Also, it is worth noting that contrary to the popular belief, the Amsterdam Red-Light District is actually the safest area in the city as clusters of policemen and private bodyguards employed by the girls themselves are always on duty.

The Chinatown

The Amsterdam Red-Light District is one of the few places on earthy where you can authentic and really tasty Chinese food. The restaurants in this district are easy to find as cooked Duck is typically hung in the front window. However, Chinatown in itself is misleading as there are also dozens of Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai restaurants and cafés scattered along the beautiful canals. Besides the restaurants, there are other Chinese businesses in the Amsterdam Red-Light District, including a well stocked supermarket across from the Waag, near the Nieuwemarkt.

The Red-Light District Today

Amsterdam now prides itself on its wholly liberal and tolerant attitude. The city embraces, with the Amsterdam Red-Light District, embraces the fact that people may be into prostitution, pornography and soft drugs. So, instead of criminalizing everything, Amsterdam wears its heart on its sleeve. What you see is generally what you get. So, how do you get to it? The answer basically lies on which Amsterdam Red-Light District you are looking for. There are actually three Red-Light Districts in the city: the main area is in the Walletjes area, the Singel, and de Pijp.

Article written by Burt Cotton, The Liberal Forums.

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