Amsterdam to move its famed Red Light District in tourism ‘reset’
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.
“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.”
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
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.