Amsterdam’s Red Light District is one of the city’s most popular and well-known destinations. The RDL is famous for its prostitutes, sex shops, and other naughty bits. The District is also undoubtedly one of the safest and most 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. Let me know in the comments if you have visited Amsterdam!
If you’re interested in what to wear for your European adventure, check out my fall travel fashion suggestions here.
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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 women 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 mankind… ‘
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. They will chase you down and deleting it themselves or grab your phone and crush it, if they have to.
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. This is the oldest of all the sex shows in Amsterdam. Casa Rosso theatre features solo sex talent acts and various partner acts. Solo sex acts can include, but women puffing a cigar through their genitalia.
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.
The Moulin Rouge is another one of the famous theaters (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 what is occurring on stage. And by see, I mean REALLY see, up close and personal. Moulin Rouge has performers of both sexes, making it marketable as more female-friendly.
Additionally, 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.
Tourists and visitors make up the marijuana scene in Amsterdam. The laws in Amsterdam regarding marijuana can be a bit confusing. Carrying marijuana in small amounts is legal, as is the sale of marijuana in coffee shops. However, the purchasing of mass amounts and the growth of marijuana is illegal. There is an unspoken agreement between law enforcement and citizens that allows for coffeeshops to remain in business.
The Bulldog (the original coffeeshop) and Green House (frequented by many celebrities including Wiz Khalifa, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, and even the OG stoner, Snoop Dogg) are two of the most famous coffee shops.
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 only 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. What’s 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!
FYI: I visited Amsterdam as part of my larger trip to Europe!