There is no better way to start an evening out in the capital city than to delve into the epic center of what it’s famous for. Liberal culture, creativity, a fine drinking and dining scene and of course those red-lit windows with scarcely dressed ladies; the red light district Amsterdam embodies everything that pops into your mind when you think about Amsterdam.
Late in the afternoon when locals leave the office and make their way home, there is one part of town that only just begins to awaken. When twilight hits you can see lights popping up alongside the ‘Oudezijds Voorburgwal’ and ‘Oudezijds Achterburgwal’. These are the two canals surrounding the area and the reason it is called ‘De Wallen.
The atmosphere is open and friendly and you are more than welcome to walk around and take in the vibes of this one of a kind area. Dive into an alley or two, like the ‘Molensteeg’ or ‘Gordijnensteeg’(which means ‘curtains alley’) to see the prostitutes trying to seduce curious passerby and negotiate with potential customers.
Ladies with their red light on are open for business. When the curtains are closed, you can probably guess what’s going on right behind them. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, provided that it’s not done on the streets. The Dutch government prefers not to limit anyone in how they make their money, but no one escapes the strict tax laws and this profession is definitely no exception.
And yes, we do know what you’ve been wanting to ask. How much? Prostitution isn’t going to get you super rich, let’s put that up front. Negotiations generally start at €50, but extras aren’t free if you know what we mean. Ladies have to pay rent for their spot behind the window, the minimum age for workers is 21 and they can reject anyone they want at any time. And don’t let your eyes deceive you, that nice looking young lady might in some cases be a young man.
Prostitution is of course nothing new in the Netherlands and dates all the way back to 1400. It wasn’t always legal but tolerated during most times. Whether or not prostitution should be legal and allowed is a discussion that will probably never reach an agreement. In the meantime, the ‘Rosse buurt’ in Amsterdam is always open for business. But sexual services charged by the hour is not the only thing it has to offer. A large variety of sights and activities will make your time in the Red Light District worthwhile.