Five things that surprised me when I first visited the red-light district of Amsterdam

Miheira rld

Mihaila, the entertainment district of Amsterdam.Miheira Friel / Insider

  • In October, I visited the entertainment district of Amsterdam for the first time.

  • While there, I interviewed local residents and sex workers and toured the area.

  • I have learned that there are many misconceptions about one of the most famous regions in the world.

I visited the entertainment district of Amsterdam for the first time in October.

Miheira, the red-light district of Amsterdam

Mihaila, the entertainment district of Amsterdam.Miheira Friel / Insider

Last year I embarked on a Cunard West Europe cruise — on the cruise line The first cruise to leave the UK since the pandemic — I stayed in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for 2 nights.

Amsterdam was chosen The second best city in the world By the 2021 timeout 2.5 million people from all over the world According to the Dutch School of Fine Arts, they visit the city every year.

This city is arguably the best known of its red-light district.I often visit this neighborhood “Annoying tourists” According to the independent, according to the city’s government website, they are often British men between the ages of 18 and 34. They are known for visiting neighborhoods for bachelorette parties and visiting sex workers at the famous red light window.

However, it turns out that RLD has more than a reputation.

There is more than one red light district.

RLD in Amsterdam

I visited Dewaren RLD in Amsterdam.Miheira Friel / Insider

It wasn’t until I set foot in Amsterdam that I was told that there were actually three red-light districts in the city. The district I visited, Dewaren, is the largest and most popular of the three.

In the second largest entertainment district, Singelgebied, Highest percentage of blue light windows According to the Last Night of Freedom, transgender sex workers are using it instead of red lights in the city.

The third red light district, Ruysdaelkade, is much smaller and does not share the same nightlife. Therefore, the website added that it is considered a more discreet place to visit.

There is a prostitute information center where sex workers inform the general public about their profession.

Inside the prostitute information center.

Inside the prostitute information center.Miheira Friel / Insider

While in the window, I visited the Prostitution Information Center (PIC). Inform the public about sex work According to its website, to end the stigma in and around it in the Netherlands.

While there, I interviewed Brenda, a female who says her Quit work as a nurse and become a sex worker.. When she wasn’t working, Brenda said she was spending her time on the PIC. There she talks to the general public, journalists, and women who are interested in starting sex work.

The police have a strong presence and there are strict rules to prevent abuse of both sex workers and neighbors.


The Erotic Museum in Amsterdam in RLD.Miheira Friel / Insider

Both Brenda and female Residents of RLD He said that the police had a strong presence in the neighborhood.

I didn’t see many police officers myself, but there are some signs in the area that warn people that certain actions such as urinating canals and drinking alcohol on the streets will be fined. Was there. There was also a sign telling the public not to take pictures of sex workers.

During a group walking tour in the city, the tour guide told me that the tour group was no longer able to enter the RLD to protect the privacy of sex workers.

There are about 4,000 inhabitants.

We live here exhibition

Free postcards for the “We Live Here” exhibition.Miheira Friel / Insider

Before visiting the windows, I never thought RLD was a residential area. I thought it was reserved for windows, clubs, and bars.

According to the Dewaren district, there are about 4,000 people living in it. Amsterdam RLD Tour, And only a handful of them participated “We live here” An exhibition to promote respectful behavior from visitors.

Next to the PIC, the exhibition is commissioned by the city council and features photographs of the inhabitants and printed interviews explaining why they enjoy living in the area.

RLD has not always been a popular tourist destination.

Amsterdam red light district

The entertainment district of Amsterdam.Robin Utrecht / SOPA Image / Light Rocket via Getty Images

During my visit, RLD was full of both locals and tourists. They were in pubs, in the windows, or exploring the neighborhood like me.

Yung CarmiggeltLocals who participate in the “We Live Here” exhibition have said that they are not always so popular. She said that when she first arrived 23 years ago, the area was considered dangerous because it was known as a hotspot for drug dealers and knife crime.

Karmichelt said it was both the increase in police cameras and the “nice trendy store” that made the area popular.

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