The Red Light District Of Amsterdam
There are many red light districts throughout the world, but the best renowned to all is that which resides in Amsterdam. Situated in the old part of this city it brings something different to everyone. Here you will find tall 14th century buildings that create shadows over the canals, alongside 17th structures as it became one of the major trade centres in Europe.
Although you might find a lot of great stuff about this area, it has of course got a lot of negative reviews. These coming from people who believe that the area promotes sexual activities and drug taking; however many of these people have probably never been to the red light district to even make the assumption that it is dirty and full of drug dealers. Of course there are going to be women in some of the shop windows wearing very little clothing offering the public some company, and there are cafes that offer marijuana, but this is carefully regulated to protect those working in this environment, to local residents, to the many tourists that visit here.
This area was first formed when local authorities wanted to keep prostitution controlled, so that there was not women on the streets flaunting themselves, and also that the many sailors that frequented the area were also not roaming around trying to find some company whilst they were in port. So the red light district was set up along the canals to keep control over both of these, where everything could take place in one area. Today many of the breweries and taverns have been turned into up market bars and clubs, attracting not just sailors but tourists from around the world.
There are many different attractions that you can find in this most interesting of cities, these being:
- The “Old Church” - the oldest building in Amsterdam
- The Casa Rosso - providing erotic evening shows
- The Erotic Museum - this is set over five floors and has on display many forms of artwork with a pornographic theme, one particular drawing is one that John Lennon made as a wedding gift for Yoko Ono
- The Venus Temple Sex Museum - this looks at the history of sex, with many artefacts, cultural displays and films that have been made throughout the years
- Bananenbar - not one for the more prudish public, this entertainment involves women and banana’s, I’ll leave you to imagine what might take place there!
If you are visiting the area with the intention of trying out some of what is on offer, it is advisable to use the girls that are in the bars, clubs and in specialist shops. The sad thing is that even though efforts are made to ensure the safety of the girls and their clients, there are still the old fashioned pimps, which are illegal as they are unlicensed; this normally means the opposite, where the girls are treated badly, they will not be tested for disease so not only are they at danger, but so could you. Also when you are specifically going out to go to one of these places, make sure you only take the amount of cash you need on you, leave all other cash and documents in the hotel room.
There are a few things to remember when visiting this red light district too, and that is your own safety and keeping your belongings secure. Of course you would follow basic safety procedures wherever you would go, but you may want to step it up a little when travelling around, especially if you are on your own.
Another thing to remember not to do is take photos of the girls or any of the personnel that may work in or around the establishments; this could lead to your belongings being taken off you. If you are approached by anyone offering you drugs or women, your best bet is to politely say no and carry on walking.
In general though this is a great area to visit and as said before you could have problems wherever you may visit. Whether you are on your own or with a group, take advantage of the many tours that are available, here you can learn more about the area, find out about its history, view the amazing architecture and admire the beauty it holds.