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Amsterdam Travel Guide > Red Light Nights

Amsterdam Red Light Nights

Amsterdam is an increasingly popular tourist destination. Of course, it's always been a popular city for very good reasons including its location, friendliness and the open and very tolerant atmosphere. Today, rather than talk about the museums, we're going to take a peep at the famous Amsterdam Red Light District.

No doubt you know that the Amsterdam red light district is one very popular place in the Netherlands. For many people, it is unlike any place else since it embraces all the virtues (hmm, maybe not exactly virtuous virtues) and definitely many of the so-called 'vices' people are known to favor. It covers a large area in the oldest part of the city and has been servicing the personal needs and desires of locals and visitors for five centuries now.

The Amsterdam red light district is also known as the "Rossebuurt". It consists of three sub-districts: the main area is the Walletjes, located between Centraal Station and Nieuwenmarkt; the Singel, located between Raadhuistraat and Centraal Station; and de Pijp, situated behind the Rijksmuseum (also worth a visit but that's a different article). Here's where you'll find women of all nationalities parading (or at least displaying) their wares in red-fringed window parlors. Many of these women are ready to offer rather more than a school boy peep show in a private cabin. And no, it is not a 'politically correct' sort of place, despite the patina of legitimacy derived from its five hundred year history.

The Amsterdam red light district is also well-known for the packs of men, young and old, the couples holding hands and pointing in shock at it all, giggling groups of women celebrating a women's only night, as well as busloads of Japanese tourists toting cameras but not pointing them in the direction of the female entertainers - photographing the entertainers is strictly banned. In the Amsterdam red light district, you can get yourself in some unpleasant trouble if you try that.

There are a number of renowned hotspots in the red light district of Amsterdam. A few of them are listed here, so read on:

De Bananenbar

De Bananenbar (yes, The Banana Bar - explanation is coming up soon) is owned by the same folks who own the Casa Rosso, another famous red light hotspot. At De Bananenbar, active audience participation is highly encouraged as bananas (yep, this is the reason for the name) are transformed into erotic devices by the hostesses. Basically due to this kind of entertainment De Bananenbar became popular with tourists and, naturally, stag parties. Interestingly, there is a semi-negotiable cover charge here; however, once you are in, the drinks are on the house. I haven't been there recently, but I assume that policy hasn't changed.

Casa Rosso

Casa Rosso may be the hottest spot in the Amsterdam red light district. Certainly the most famous as well as the largest night club, it is located in the middle of the red light district. This place is well-known for its clean and comfortable erotic theater, which manages to create an unsleazy atmosphere that most liberal adults would find congenial and so has become a must see for every tourist. Casa Rosso presents live shows with audience participation every night.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is yet another hotspot in the Amsterdam red light district and is well-known for its erotic theatre. The erotic theater of the Moulin Rouge embraces the tradition of its famous Paris counterpart, featuring striptease and live shows.

Absolute Danny

If what you are after is a sex shop in the Amsterdam red light district, Absolute Danny deserves a special mention. This is actually one of the first shops managed entirely by a woman, and the atmosphere here is distinctly different from the more usual basic sex shop. Of course, as is fairly well known, the orientation at Danny's is towards fetish clothing, with a variety of clothes, lingerie and corsets in rubber, PVC, see-through and leather. You will also find lots of books, jewelry, videos, erotic art, and traditional sex accessories and toys such as the one and only Tarzan vibrator.

Even if you have no desire to attend any of the nightclub shows, visit the sex shops or patronize the entertainers, you shouldn't miss out on at least strolling through Amsterdam's Red Light District, it truly is a unique and fascinating experience.

Article written by Richard Keir, Completely Travel.