Amsterdam’s Red Light District is one of the city’s most popular and well-known destinations . Known for it’s many prostitutes, sex shops, and other naughty bits, the District is also undoubtedly one of the most safest and beautiful areas in Amsterdam.
We know men love to explore all things sexual and provocative, it shouldn’t be frowned upon for us ladies to enjoy exploring the naughty side of Amsterdam as well… So why not? Go for it! Read my suggestions, plan your trip, and get your ‘naughty’ on.
Just a foreword: this post does refer to graphic content.
The Red Light District
Back when Amsterdam was a river town and the center of trade in Europe, men would arrive on boats that had been at sea for several years. The first thing these men wanted to do was be in the company of a woman… and so prostitution became a popular career in Amsterdam. Women would come from all over Holland and Europe in hopes of making a good living. And boy did they…
Flash forward to modern times, In 2000, the ban on brothels was lifted, and prostitution as a business was legalized in Amsterdam. Women who worked as prostitutes were required to maintain work permits, ensuring that the women who are working are eligible and not being trafficked by crime rings.
Prostitution is the most misunderstood part of the Red Light District. Let’s start our discussion with two of the most important facts about prostitution:
- Prostitution is LEGAL.
- The woman work for themselves, not for pimps, and are independent business owners
These women make an honest living for themselves, using the oldest trade known to man kind… ‘
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying run off and become a prostitute, but you should be aware of these facts and acknowledge that these women are not doing anything wrong or shameful.
Now I know what you are wondering… how much does it cost to visit a prostitute in Amsterdam? According to my tour guide, all women in the red light district maintain the same standard base charge for a “Suck & f**k” package, 15-20 minutes for 50 euro. From there, prices can only go up depending on the services provided.
There are approximately 300 tiny one-room “windows” spread out across several blocks surrounding the Oude Kerk church, approximately a 5 minute from Dam Square. The women spend time in their windows talking to each other, texting, others who are marketing a little harder will dance, smile, or even call and wave to you. It’s their time and they are there to make the most of it.
Just a reminder: DO NOT take any photos of the occupied windows in the district. The women will do everything possible to make sure that no photos are taken and those that are end up deleted… whether it be chasing you down and deleting it themselves or grabbing your phone and crushing it.
Another major part of the Red Light District, are the live sex shows that are going on both day and night.
There are several famous theaters in the district, each with its own personality. These include the Casa Rosso and the Banana Bar.
The Casa Rosso has several locations, spread throughout the district. The oldest of all the sex shows in Amsterdam, this theatre features solo sex talent acts (including women who do many tricks such as puffing a cigar through their genitalia) and various partner acts.
The Banana Bar is the home of the famous “banana” act, where a female performer inserts a banana into a certain part of her body and has audience members take a bite of the banana.
Another one of the famous theaters is the Moulin Rouge, not to be confused with the cabaret in Paris. With its very close atmosphere, Moulin Rouge is the theater that allows visitors to see up close and personal what is occurring on stage. Moulin Rouge is known to have strippers of both sexes, making it marketable as more female friendly.
And according to amsterdam.info the crowds are not full of perverts and creeps, the crowd is mostly compromised of curious tourists of all ages (18+) looking to experience everything Amsterdam has to offer.
A “coffeeshop” is not a cafe… a cafe sells coffee and wine and other food, while a coffeeshop will serve coffee, snacks, and marijuana… both smokable and edible.
The marijuana scene in Amsterdam is made up of mostly tourists and visitors. The laws in Amsterdam regarding marijuana can be a bit confusing. While carrying marijuana in small amounts is legal, as is the sale of marijuana in coffeeshops, the purchasing of mass amounts and growth of marijuana is illegal. However, there is an unspoken agreement between law enforcement and citizens that allows for coffeeshops to remain in business.
Some of the most famous ones include The Bulldog (which is the original coffeeshop) and Green House, which is frequented by many celebrities including Wiz Khalifa, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, and even the OG stoner, Snoop Dogg.
If you are interested in trying marijuana at a coffeeshop, all of these places sell pre-rolled joints (if you are unsure how much weed to you need or are unsure how to roll a joint). The staff are also very helpful in picking out the strain that is right for you.
Other Things to Do
Smoking and sex are just a few of the things to do in The Red Light District. The district is home to many sex shops which are worth a visit too, not to buy yourself or your partner a toy (which is totally acceptable) but just to see the crazy things that these stores sell. They also sell novelty condoms (which I have heard people collect!) and other goofy souvenirs.
There are plenty of bars in the area as well, overlooking the canals. My recommendation? Grab a Heineken and a spot at an outdoor patio and people watch. Whats better than watching people marvel at things they have never seen before?
Have you been to the Red Light District? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments below!