Red Light District, Amsterdam, The Netherlands  » Travel  »
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Downtown Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • I enjoyed a great lunch while people watching, and other than the gawking tourists, it was a pleasant and relaxing afternoon
  • The lights from the shops and prostitute windows cast a red glow, but it is still a safe, interesting place to visit

    • by Jessie Bahrey
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      The mention of the Red Light District in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has always conjured up images of seedy perversion and dirty and crime-ridden streets, a place not in the least bit safe for visitors to come. With such a notorious reputation, I expected to be quite appalled; instead, if I hadn’t actually turned a corner and faced a window prostitute right in front of me, I would never have known I was in the District.

      It was, like all the streets in Amsterdam, completely free of litter and dirt. There were several sex shows and stores along the streets, and prostitutes, older than I imagined and in lingerie, stood or sat in windows along several blocks. However, there were no gangs of criminals lurking, no thugs loitering and no sirens blaring. All in all, it was a rather quiet, peaceful area.

      I talked to some of the locals at a ...


      • pub about their rather infamous attraction, and they told me some facts which certainly contradicted all my stereotypes. The government regulates the prostitutes-they must be of legal age, they must be registered, they all are tested yearly for STDs, and they are all subject to mandatory drug tests, and if they fail, they, like all citizens of Holland, are sent free of charge to a rehabilitation centre. And because drugs are also regulated and kept
        in coffee shops, there is no crime associated with drugs or prostitution. My visit to the Red Light District backed up these claims; I enjoyed a great lunch while people watching, and other than the gawking tourists, it was a pleasant and relaxing afternoon.

        At night, the District is livelier and noisier, but no less respectable. The lights from the shops and prostitute windows cast a red glow, but it is still a safe, interesting place to visit.




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