Amsterdam to move its famed Red Light District in tourism ‘reset’

Feb 4, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Visiting Amersterdam may soon have a different feel. The city’s famous Red Light District is set to be relocated to a new “erotic center” elsewhere in the city.

The controversial move is said to be because authorities wish to encourage a different type of visitor — less drawn to the seedier side of the Dutch capital and focused more on art and culture.

Councilors have agreed that many of the brothels and “window displays” will be closed down the narrow alleys near the docks and that sex workers will be able to work in a designated center somewhere else in Amsterdam.

Want more credit card news and travel advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter.

The De Wallen area contains hundreds of “cabins” rented by prostitutes who typically advertise their services from behind a glass window, backlit by red lights — hence the area’s name. It’s also one of the oldest parts of the city and home to many other exotic attractions such as sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum and a cannabis museum.

The city’s mayor Femke Halsema has said that the windows should be closed as the women working in them have been the victims of verbal abuse and tourists gawping at them.

(Photo by George Pachantouris/Getty Images)

“This is about a reset of Amsterdam as a visitor city,” said Dennis Boutkan, of the Dutch Labour party. “Tourists are welcome to enjoy the beauty and freedom of the city, but not at any cost.”

Read more: Every tourist in Amsterdam makes these same 12 mistakes

Halsema added that the move would also prevent the “rise in human trafficking by providing a safe environment in which sex workers can run their businesses.”

However, the decision has been met with opposition. Lobby group Red Light United said that business will be severely affected because tourists won’t know where to find the sex workers.

The news comes after there were calls last year to ban tours of the Red Light District as well as stopping tourists from visiting its famous coffee shops due to over-tourism. Halsema has proposed that only Dutch residents will be allowed into Amsterdam’s 166 marijuana-selling coffee shops in a bid to cut down on “drug tourism.”

She said the city could remain “open, hospitable and tolerant,” but at the same time would make life more difficult for criminals and cut down on mass, low-budget tourism.

However, the coffee shop measure has struggled to gain support. The opposing political parties — the liberal D66 party, the Greens, Labour and the Socialist party — argue that the relocation of the Red Light District as well as banning tourists from coffee shops will result in a growth in “unhealthy drug use among visitors and street trade on young people.”

According to the Daily Telegraph, Amsterdam was visited by 19 million people in 2018, dwarfing the city’s population of 850,000.

Featured photo by Nisangha/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.