Even if visiting the Red Light District isn’t the main reason for your trip to Amsterdam, the chances are that you will check it out anyways. It remains one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city with the sex workers offering their services legally and the curious crowd staring at them. You can walk down the narrow streets of the district and just watch the half-naked girls in the red light windows, or you can truly get to know what it’s all about, how things work and have an eye opening experience. No, we don’t try to talk you into getting a prostitute, but instead encourage you to take one of the great Amsterdam Red Light District tours.
SANDEMANs Red Light District Teleport’s Team favorite!
Have you arrived to Amsterdam alone and are eager to explore its most controversial neighborhood but need a company for that? Then this option is the right fit for you with a cheerful guide telling interesting stories of the Red Light District, introducing you to its sex culture with numerous windows (including elite streets), sex shops, video cabins and even the Prostitution Information Center run by a former prostitute. You will discover the hidden sculptures (of course, sex industry related!) and visit an S&M specialist.
What’s the retirement age for sex workers? Do you think that only young attractive girls can offer themselves in the Red Light District? Then meet and greet the most popular ex-prostitutes in the Netherlands, who worked in the industry for 50 years before retiring! These twin charming ladies will reveal all the secrets, answer any of your questions and tell you all about being a prostitute in Amsterdam. And yes, you can totally take a picture with them! Other highlights of the tour include visiting the World’s First Condom Shop, some street art on the way and even a cannabis shop.
This more authentic tour will give you not only a nice overview of the Red Light District, but also show you the blue lights area with transsexual prostitutes, which might be different from a regular tour there. You will also visit a local brewery, the oldest building of Amsterdam, a temple in the heart of the Chinatown and the well-known Weighbuilding at Nieuwmarkt. And the best part is that all these attractions will be presented to you by a local, who knows all the hidden stories and parts of the city.
This workshop can become a very unusual experience in Amsterdam for the bravest ones, as it involves you getting behind that red light window, and not as a client, but a worker. Former sex worker Mariska will teach you all the small details about the profession and let you feel the daily life of a prostitute in Amsterdam. Some theory and practical exercises will make you ready to take a seat behind the window and see how the passersby react. No customers will be allowed to come in (so you don’t to do the actual job), but you will have a complete understanding of the business and unique pictures of yourself behind the window.
Don’ts of Amsterdam Red Light District
Whether you browse around the Red Light District on your own or are part of a guided tour, there are certain rules that you need to follow. These are the most important ones:
- Don’t take pictures of the ladies in the windows! If you do so, you might get in trouble with the bouncers of Amsterdam or the sex workers themselves, as they can pour some bleach-laced water or ammonia at you.
- Don’t knock, tap or spit on the windows. Respect the labor of the ladies and don’t interfere with their job.
- Don’t buy anything from people on the street, whether it’s drugs, stolen bicycles or cookies. If you want to try the famous Dutch weed, just go to a coffeeshop-there’s plenty of them in Amsterdam.
- Don’t be afraid of the Red Light District, but be aware of the potential pickpockets that look for an easy target like a tourist staring at the red light windows with his mouth open.
- Don’t pee on the street or into the canal, as fines will be applied. And don’t throw anything into the canals, whatever it can be (including yourself!).
But most of all, have a great time in Amsterdam, explore its every corner, learn new things about the city and be ready for surprises!
This post is also available in: Dutch