A Guide to Amsterdam's Red Light District
The majority of people visiting Amsterdam have heard about the Red Light District: a promiscious area knowon for public prostitution. This is true, but there is so much more to it than just some sex workers behind red lights. Did you know that De Wallen, which is the Red Light District in Dutch, is the oldest part of the city? In the 60’s it became illegal to offer such services in the streets, but sitting behind a window was tolerated. The workers made it clear to men that they were available by burning a red light. Until this day, these lights are still used and that’s where it got its name the Red Light District from. In this article we’ve listed top thing to do, what to be wary of and some tips for a visit this popular attraction.
What to do
There’s so much more to do in this area than to just stroll past the windows. The Red Light District is full of architectural treasures and beautiful monumental building that are definitely worth checking out! A lively street in this area is the Warmoesstraat, where you can find numerous shops, bars, restaurants and clubs. Another cool architectural site is De Oude Kerk, or the Old Church, which is the oldest still existing building in Amsterdam! It’s an active church, but also a museum where visitors can check out modern art. If you want to see something cool, you have to go to Trompettersteeg. The unique thing about this alley is that is officially Amsterdam’s narrowest street. This skinny street is just one metre wide, you can’t even walk side by side here.
If you want to find out more about prostitution, you have to visit the Museum of Prostitution, obviously located in the Red Light District. In this museum you can discover everything about prostitution in Amsterdam: from the history of the neighbourhood and real stories of working women to the interiors of what’s behind the windows and a typical day of a sex worker. Very interesting, your trip to the Red Light District is not complete without a visit to this unique museum! The ancient area is also home to a lot of pubs, bars, clubs, brothels, shops and restaurants. Guaranteed, there’s something for everyone: whether you are interested in prostitution or just want to have a stroll and grab a bite.
There are numerous Red Light District guided tours that will walk you through the neighbourhood’s. It’s a good way to show you all of the highlights of the area, such as the red windows, some coffee shops, the world’s first condom shop, street art, Chinatown, historical buildings, brothers and much more. All of this while explaining the Dutch culture and rich history of Amsterdam. You can book a tour on this website.
What to be wary of
The Red Light District is a crowded area, especially on weekends it can get very busy. The district gets filled with visitors and groups of tourists, often getting distracted by all the uniqueness of what’s happening here, which makes it easy for pickpockets to grab what may not be theirs. Even though there is both video and police surveillance, be aware of pickpockets! Also, it’s strictly forbidden to take photos or videos of the women behind the red windows. We understand that you may want to take a picture to look back at some day, but please respect the privacy of these women! It is strictly forbidden and is also enforced. Lastly, besides being a popular tourist attraction, the Red Light District is a neighbourhood where families and people actually live. Try to keep it down by not yelling or causing any disturbance, this is highly appreciated.
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Article by Nylo Damanafshan