Red Light District Walking Tour
This Red Light District tour starts at a prostitute information centre, where we will offer you a free drink. A former prostitute will explain the system, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have. The visit to the "Wallen", the Redlight District, is perhaps the most interesting part of this tour. There you can see, live, the oldest profession in the world. The tour continues through narrow streets, one of them the famous "Zeedijk", this used to be on of the most dangerous streets of Amsterdam, where sailors went looking for amusement. Nowadays, because of the disappearance of the harbour, the shady bars have been replaced by typical cozzy Dutch pubs, and they're certainly not dangerous any more. During this excursion, we guarantee your safety - you will accoppanied by a trustworthy guide.
24 Euro (includes 1 free drink)
Depart: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm
Duration: 2 hours
The red light district area
When people (especially American people) head to Amsterdam the first thing they think when they hear “red light district” is the amount of activity that goes on which is illegal in the borders of most of the United States. De Wallen is the most well known red light district in Amsterdam. This fortunately is not all that one can visit Amsterdam to see and enjoy. The number of beautiful, architecturally sound buildings in the area is amazing. Certainly the sites include a higher accounting of drug use and prostitution, but since the legalization is there, it makes the entire district safer in general. Day or night, Amsterdam is the place to go to see the sights.
The red light district of Amsterdam is full of picturesque scenes which are a joy for tourists from all over the world. One of the most popular landmarks is De Oude Kerk (translated “The Old Church”). This is not just the oldest church in Amsterdam. De Oude Kerk is also the oldest building in Amsterdam. The building was built in the 13th century and has survived fires as well as restoration projects. The exterior is decidedly gothic and the interior contains a large and exquisite organ. The first wife of the painter Rembrandt is buried in this church. The red lights in this area can often enhance the sights of buildings like De Oude Kerk at night.
Drug use and prostitution are legal in the red light district of Amsterdam. Prostitutes will rent one room apartments with big windows or glass doors and showcase their services for passersby. These windows are illuminated by red lights to both enhance the view and obscure it from a distance. Over the past few years, government officials have been seeking to clean up this aspect of De Wallen, citing conditions to be a cesspit with many dangerous goings on involving criminal organizations, violence and human trafficking.
The alleys in the red light district can be difficult to traverse. Some alleys are so small, people must turn sideways to pass one another if they are going in opposite directions. Driving is nearly impossible as many of the roads through Amsterdam are one way. The number of canals however is immense and can be quite aesthetically pleasing. Tourists often take the time to have pictures taken around the canals for keepsakes. De Wallen is an experience for the whole family!
There are three different areas where prostitution brothels are operated:
The Redlight District (aka: de Wallen), the Singel-area and the area around the Ruysdaelkade.Momentary there're are 407 windows in total.
The prostitution on the Redlight District area is by far the largest with 290 windows.This represent 71 percent of the total supply. The number of windows in The Singel-area is 18 percent of the total supply. These brothels are more integrated integrated into the living- and workfunction compared to the Redlight District area: there are less restaurants and coffee shops established.
Ruysdaelkade's prostitution is the smallest area. It counts 43 windows which are owned by 14 different operators.
In general, the prostitutes on the Redlight District are the youngest of all. More than half of the prostitutes are younger than 26. One in six prostitutes on the Wallen are born in the Netherlands. Most of the prostitutes, about 60%, come from Eastern Europe.
The average age of the prostitutes varies by country of birth. The South-American prostitutes are 38 years on average. The Eastern European prostitutes are 25 years on average and are the youngest group of prostitutes on the Wallen.
Foreign prostitutes often return to their home country for a long vacation or for a family visit. These are mainly the independent prostitutes who have the freedom to travel.
The future of the Redlight
Within a couple of years the number of brothels will be reduced to 239 windows. There used to be over 509 brothels in Amsterdam, which now 102 are closed.
Despite of the reduction in brothels, prostitutes generally continue to work as a prostitute. The only exception are the Dominican prostitutes, who return to their homeland.
For the autonomous and independent prostitutes who work behind the window, it seems highly unlikely that as a result of closing the windows, they will make the switch to an escort. Window prostitution offers more security and delivers more money.
Some prostitutes are forced to work in another city, such as The Hague, Alkmaar, Utrecht or Groningen. But Amsterdam is and will be the preferred city for many prostitutes.