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Red Light District Amsterdam

For Red Light District videos visit youtube.com. Please also read further information on how to behave in the red light district.

Red Light District AmsterdamFrom brothels to sex shops to museums, the Red Light District leaves nothing to the imagination. It is very likely that you will have heard about this neighbourhood and to be frank, everything you will have heard is probably true , but to really put rumours to rest, you have got to check it out for yourself. The Rossebuurt, as the locals know it, is unlike any other place. Guaranteed. Certainly, the Red Light District that everyone knows about is the one where women, of all nationalities, parade their wares in red-fringed window parlours, many ready to offer more than a school boy peep-show in a private cabin. Another familiar image of the Red Light District is of packs of men, young and old , couples holding hands and pointing in shock of it all, giggling groups of women celebrating a hen night , and busloads of Japanese tourists toting cameras (except not in the direction of the female entertainers! Strictly banned!). This is proof enough that the RLD deserves a visit, if not a little look in.

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Perhaps what few really notice is that the Rossebuurt (Dutch for ‘pink’ or ‘red’ neighbourhood) is in fact one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city with its long winding narrow, cobbled streets and utterly charming 14 th century architecture, Red Light District Amsterdamsuch as the gothic Oude Kerk, or Old Church. The Red Light District simply oozes charm and one cannot help but admire the old buildings that lean at odd-angles, and the tree-enshrouded canals. Music, especially during the summer season, invites you to linger just that little bit longer while the arrival of new classier eateries and great authentic restaurants such as Café Pacifico, one of Europe 's first Mexican restaurants, make it so appealing. Recently resurfaced streets, restored façades and trendier clientele to the area are now transforming what was once a dark and seedy part of town.

Amsterdam prides itself, and rightly so, on its wholly liberal and tolerant attitude, embracing the fact that people may be into prostitution, soft drugs and pornography-and this is only human. So instead of criminalizing everything, this very upfront city wears its heart on its sleeve-what you see is generally what you get. Enjoy the honesty of it all, as you won’t find it anywhere else. So how do you get to it? It depends which RLD you are looking for as t here are in fact three Red Light Districts in Amsterdam: the main area is in the Walletjes area (between Centraal Station and Nieuwenmarkt), and the other two, in Singel (between Raadhuistraat and Centraal Station) and de Pijp (behind the Rijksmuseum).

Prostitution in Amsterdam
Prostitution is legal in Holland, and in Amsterdam most of it is concentrated in the Red Light District where it has enjoyed a long tradition of tolerance. Since October 2000, window prostitutes have been allowed to legally ply their trade. Today, prostitutes in the Netherlands are also taxpayers. Unfortunately, discrimination is still very much part and parcel in this trade as many prostitutes report that some banks even refuse to grant mortgages for example. However, now as a legal profession, the government ensures that all prostitutes are able to access medical care and work in better conditions by regulating and monitoring working practices and standards. Help is also at hand in the district itself thanks to the Prostitution Information Center. Also, contrary to popular belief, the RLD is actually the safest area in Amsterdam as clusters of policemen, and private bodyguards employed by the girls themselves are always on duty.

Condom shop Het Gulden Vlies
This shop called also Condomerie, is a kingdom of condoms. It has all colors, shapes, sizes and flavors. Some are even hand painted and are for decoration only. You may find there a surprising amount of information and books.

Did you know?

Window prostitution is distinct to the Netherlands. Until recently, there was also a tipple -zone (pick-up area) servicing the needs of clientele on the move. Utrecht, 30 minutes east of Amsterdam, has its own canal-based RLD, Rotterdam has a number of sex clubs or private houses (privenhuizen) and smaller cities like Groningen and Alkmaar have also jumped on the red light bandwagon.

Live show AmsterdamSo where to go? Well, if curiosity does get the better of you, come down at night when the district really comes to life. During the day, the district is less lively and even less attractive as the more sordid aspects reveal themselves in natural daylight. Although there are women forever tapping on the windows even during the light hours, most of the action takes place around 11pm , when the district is swarming with crowds and the red neon lights illuminate the inky canals. The atmosphere pretty much thrives until around 2 or 3am when the crowds die down and businesses shut up shop.

Whether you are window-shopping, Amsterdam style, or actually wanting to buy something, there is likely to be a place, window, or even two, that cater to your every whim. For those not easily offended, there are plenty of live sex shows and the most notorious of these go on at the theatres Casa Rosso (OZ Achterburgwal) and the infamous Moulin Rouge (Oudezijds Achterburgwal 5-7). For the merely curious, there are numerous peep shows that may come with video booths. But of course, for the more adventurous among us, there are more interactive shows, for example at Amsterdam Banana Bar (Oudezijds Achterburgwal 37). Exactly what goes on in these places is up to you to discover, if you so wish. For goods, there is a somewhat eclectic mix of videos, magazines, sex aids and toys. The RLD is also home to many gay bars and cinemas which can be found on the very busy Warmoesstraat. If the Red light alleyways are not your cup of tea, there are a number of brothels and private houses that offer a more traditional form of prostitution.

For culture, you don’t need to look very far as the very picturesque Zeedijk, the Jewish quarter, Waterloo Square and Nieuwmarkt Square lie just around the corner. RLD also boasts a string of unusual shops and pubs, so be sure to visit. And restaurants? Try the stylish Mediterranean kitchen , the Blauw aan de Wal ( Oudezijds Achterburgwal 99), the French brasserie Café Roux (Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197 or head down to Chinatown.

Things to do in Amsterdam Red Light District
To make sure you get the best out of the Red Light District and that it doesn’t get the worse out of you, stick to these tips closely:

  1. Do not take photos of the occupied windows - this is strictly prohibited and any attempt will be quickly stamped out (it could get messy, you have been warned!). Enjoy some discrete Red Light District pictures that are also available for free download, see our copyright license.
  2. Watch out for pick-pocketers, as this is almost always an extremely overcrowded area.
  3. Try and go in a group or at least go in twos to avoid attracting any unwanted attention.
  4. Do not buy from dealers -whether its drugs or bikes- or else you will find yourself on the other side of the law!
  5. Don’t visit the Red Light District first otherwise you may get the wrong idea about the Dutch and Amsterdam as this is not all we are about! Enjoy yourself, as a trip down the RLD will leave a lasting impression.

Live show AmsterdamAlthough the area of Red light district may look dodgy, it is certainly not any dangerous place to stay. It is actually quite safe and well controlled part of the city, Amsterdam's heart of night entertainment. Hotels located direcly in the Red Light District are often prefered by visitors seeking the close feel and excitement of Amsterdam's night life. If you still look for more quiet area, there are many hotels just a short walk away.

Map of Amsterdam Red Light District
Handy selection on the map of Amsterdam to guide you where the famous area is located in the center of the city. Provided by Google Maps.

Amsterdam Red Light District tours
RLD is certainly the major Amsterdam's tourist attraction and there are several tour agencies and independent tour guides offering the guided tours. They can certainly provide you with more information while telling some interesting stories about the history of the oldest profession in the world.

  • MP3 Red Light District Tour
    Explore the back streets of Amsterdam’s most notorious neighborhood with this unique audio tour downloaded direct to your iPod or MP3 player. Available at Walki-Talki.com.

  • Red Light District tour
    Elisabeth from Tailor made tours will show you the highlights of the neighbourhood.

  • Red Light District Guide
    Review of and link to the Red Light District Guide, an e-book offering insider tips on Amsterdam's adult entertainment.


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