Amsterdam red light district walking route
This tour takes you through the Red Light District as well as the major nightlife areas of Amsterdam. The best time to walk is in the early evening when the district is in full swing but avoid the area late night as things can get quite rowdy.
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- Nieuwmarkt - Home to the last remaining gate entrance from the old city walls, the “Waag” was once a weigh house used to weigh goods before entering the city for tax purposes. The square in front of the Waag is now home to a produce market in the summer months.
Walk north along Zeedijk.
- China Town – As you walk along Zeedijk you will pass through China town. Immigrants from Asia have been a part of the city since the early 1600’s. The first Buddhist Temple in Europe is along this street on the left side opened in 2000.
Continue along the Zeedijk until you reach the first waterway.
- Little Venice – This area is known as “Little Venice” because it is the only place where the water goes right up to the houses, just like Venice. If you look to the right you can see St. Nicholas Church. Saint Nicholas is the Patron Saint of Sailors and was an important saint for the sailors who were also the red light district’s original clientele.
Take a left after the bridge and walk down Oudezijds Voorburgwal Canal to number
- Amstelkring Museum – This unassuming canal house at number 40 Oudezijds Voorburgwal contains a hidden church in its attic that was once used by the Catholics after their religion was outlawed by the Calvinist government. A truly unique sight well worth the price of admission. Open 10am – 5pm.
Continue along Oudezijds Voorburgwal Canal one block.
- Oude Kerk – On the left side of the canal about three blocks on is the oldest church in Amsterdam. No one style defines the church as it has been remodeled countless times since the original structure was built in 1306.
Continue past the church to the narrow alley just beyond near the Bulldog Coffeeshop.
- Trompettersteeg Alley – This impossibly narrow alley leads to the greatest concentration of brothels in the city. Try not to get lost in the narrow maze of alleys as you get up close and personal with some of those famous Amsterdam ladies of the night.
Leave the alley the same way you came in and continue along Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Turn left at the first bridge and walk through the alley to the next canal over, Oudezijds Achterburgwal.
- Oudezijds Achterburgwal – This canal is the oldest in Amsterdam and was once home to 16 different convents and monasteries. As you can see, a lot has changed since then. The street is filled with brothels, novelty sex shops and of course that famous Amsterdam institution: “The Casa Rosso.”
When you done exploring the street, cross over to the next canal, Kloveniersburgwal leading away from Nieumarkt.
- Kloveniersburgwal – Make a right and walk along the canal. On your right at number 48 is the former headquarters of the colonial East India Company, now the library for the University of Amsterdam. Just past the next bridge, on your right, is the street Rusland, home to the famous Rusland Coffeeshop, the first coffeeshop in Amsterdam and still one of the best.
Continue walking down Kloveniersburgwal along the left side of the canal until your reach the Amstel River.
- Amstel River – This is the river which gives Amsterdam it’s name, literally, the “Dam on the Amstel.” The Muziektheater is visible to your right as you cross the bridge, nicknamed the “Stopera” because the locals hated the design so much they tried to stop construction.
Continue over the bridge and through the alley to Rembrandtplein.
- Rembrandtplein – This square is home to some of the best dance clubs in Europe. There is a statue of Rembrandt in the middle that gives the square its name. To the right down Amstelstraat is the Tuschinski Music theater, an art deco masterpiece. The narrow alley leading out of the right side of the square is Regulierdwarsstraat, which is the beginning of the Amsterdam’s gay party district.