After the quiet early evening hours, Amsterdam's streets and squares get again very busy at night. At the back of the Dam square, the whole area of town called Red Light District is always invaded by large groups of tourists walking in the streets and looking at the windows with the girls. Nearby small restaurants and cafes are full of people.
Around Leidseplein you will find the Stadsschouwburg (City theatre) and other theatres, lots of cafes, restaurants, cinemas, the casino, the Lido theatre with live entertainment and the famed cultural and music centers, Sugar Factory, Paradiso and Melkweg offering a varied music program: rock, pop, dance, rap and world music, including big-name bands.
Another busy area of clubs, cafes and cinemas is Rembrandtplein. The square is surrounded by the cafes and clubs always full of guests. An important small street traditionally attracting theater crowd is Nes (parallel to Rokin). Nearby cafes try to attract this intellectual crowd. The old area of the Jordan is mostly frequented by the young people. In its cafes and bars, it is easy to meet people and make new friends.
Amsterdam's reputation as a city to party in is well deserved, and there is a wide selection of nightclubs to keep anybody up well past their bedtime. The main areas for clubbing are Rembrantplein and Leidseplein, although there are clubs scattered throughout the city, including in and around the Red Light District and Spui.
The soft drugs are available in coffeeshops for people who are over 18. Don't buy any drugs on the street. This is illegal, dangerous and, if caught by the police, the only trip you'll make is down to the police station. There are plenty of coffee shops around. Most of the coffeeshops are open till mid-night, some a bit longer.
The camera in a slash/circle sign behind many of the windows, along with the furious tapping on glass of the women themselves will inform you that taking a camera into the Walletjes, Amsterdam's red light district, is a serious breach of etiquette. One of the district's security crew may remind you - destroy your film; may even ask you to leave, or worse. No cameras in red light distict! If you really need some pictures, there are some discrete shots in our gallery.
Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands from 1815 and in 1996 the Dutch government started to tax it. According to statistics there are now over 25,000 prostitutes in the Netherlands and over half of these are said to be illegal immigrants. Like many cities in the world there are a large number of brothels in Amsterdam but unlike other cities there are a large number of red lit windows in the Red Light District.
Inside the sex museum you will find a great collection of erotic art from throughout history and a number of other entertaining exhibits. There is everything from an extensive collection of literature and manuscripts portraying various illustrations of sex that have popped up throughout history through padded booths playing porno films to a gallery of alternative sexual fetishes. Very informative and explicit, not for those easily offended. Address: Damrak 18
An artistic view over the world erotics. The Erotic museum reflects what it is all about in the Red Light District. Five floors of erotic enjoyment and a collection of erotic art from all over the world.
Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 54, Red Light District
This museum is next-door and owned by the sensi seed bank. Its fairly small and goes through the history of the cannabis plant. There are also some plants growing on show aswell as explanations of hash production, etc. Next to the museum is a seed bank where you can buy quality cannabis seeds (for medical purposes, of course). Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148, Red Light District
Condom shop Het Gulden Vlies
This shop is a kingdom of condoms. It has all colors, shapes, sizes and flavors. Some are even hand painted and are for decoration only. You can also find all sorts of information and books and it has a small condom museum. Address: Warmoesstraat 141