Amsterdam – Red Light District Information & Coffee Shops
The taking of photos In the Red light districts without the consent of the subject or owner is not advised.
The Red Light Districts Amsterdam
There are three red light districts in Amsterdam. The biggest of these is Rosse Burt between Niuewenmarket and the Centraal Sration (sometimes referred to as Walletjes or De Wallen), is a maze of small alleys with old buildings that have been divided into 1 bedroom studios.
The occupants of the studios are sex workers, male and female who sell sex to sex tourists The workers, often minimally dressed, stand at windows or glass doors that open directly on to the street. The other two red light districts are De pijp behind the Rijksmuseum and at Singel between Raadhuistraat and the Central Station.
Some of these window brothels which employ 20% of sex workers in the city operate 24 hours with sex workers working rotating eight hour shifts each paying up to 170€ euros per shift for the facilities. It is thought that their clients pay an average of 60€ for a 15 minute visit.
Over 40% of Amsterdam sex workers work in traditional brothels which are private houses. The remainder work in sex clubs night clubs and through escort agencies.
Foreign Sex Workers Forced Into Prostitution
The is a ‘myth’ that since prostitution was legalised and recognised by the Dutch authorities as a credible profession that the sex workers in the industry have chosen their vacation.
Less than 10% of sex workers in Amsterdam are actually Dutch – many come from other parts of the European Union with an increasing number coming from non EU countries in Eastern Europe. The latter are often illegal immigrants press ganged into the industry by criminal gangs who traffic young girls into the country on false promises (such as becoming au pairs) and sell them to pimps. There are also a large number of workers from South America.
Most of these girls and boys work from the private brothels as they are not allowed to work in the window brothels unless they have a EU passport. They are also the most vulnerable to HIV and Aids and they do not have access to the counselling and medical services rendered to registered sex workers.
HIV Aids Increasing
Some reports suggest the percentage of Dutch sex workers with HIV / Aids is near double figures. Most of those affected are reported to be drug addicted prostitutes (who commonly work on the streets), transsexuals and amongst the ever increasing number of male prostitutes serving bisexuals and gay clients.
Coffee Shops In Amsterdam
The sale of Cannabis in the Netherlands is actually illegal, but there is no punishable penalty for selling small quantities of the substance. In Amsterdam and other parts of Holland it is possible to purchase cannabis at shops displaying the green and white sign above.
These shops have registered with the local authority and Police to be ‘allowed’ to sell small quantities of cannabis up to 5 grams. They are not allowed to sell any alcohol or hard drugs. Customers can buy coffee, non alcoholic drinks and food.
All customers must be over 18 and have proof of their identity, which has to be recorded and documented by the shop This documentation is regularly examined and copied by the Police. Shops that do not comply with these rules can be closed down instantly In Amsterdam there are thought to be nearly three hundred of these coffee shops many of them situated in or close to the Red light Districts. Each of them is allowed to stock up to 500 grams of cannabis.
Some of the shops are colourfully decorated and adorned with pictures of Bob Marley and happy for their customers to smoke their purchases on the premises and put the world to rights. Others are a little more conservative – if there is such a word in Holland – and prefer customers stay to be brief.
see also related article Tourist Traps in Amsterdam
Amsterdams Cannabis Cafes To Weed Out Tobacco
For years the cannabis cafes of Amsterdam have extended a warm welcome to locals and tourists who want to buy some cannabis and roll a joint without fear of being arrested.
New laws introduced across Holland in July mean that smoking tobacco in all public places – including the Cannabis Cafes is now illegal. Under Dutch law the smoking of marijuana is illegal but it is tolerated at the cafes – though the number of licences for these establishments has been rationed this year.
Now visitors to the cafes risk being arrested if they roll a joint using standard tobacco – not the marijuana. The new law apparently is encouraging people to roll pure ‘ joints’ which is not what the city authorities had intended when they started to reduced the number of cafes licensed to sell the cannabis.