Not that you were thinking about it, but the going rate starts at 50 euro for 15 minutes and probably wont be the most romantic experience you’ve had. Just like all major cities across the world, prostitution exists here in the Netherlands, but with a difference. Amsterdam's liberal and open culture has fostered the world's oldest profession and is now infamous for it's Red Light District (Known as De Wallen to the locals). There's something for everyone here, and we're not just referring to the wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and blue lights (Transgender prostitutes). Maybe leave the kids at home for this one.
If a firsthand experience isn't your thing, there's plenty of other options for debauchery in the Red Light. €2 Peep shows, strip clubs and live sex shows just to name a few. Theatre Casa Rosso being one of the most prestigious and well known in this line of work, will provide an opportunity to see things most people would usually only ever see behind a computer screen. If you're lucky (or unlucky) enough, you might even have the chance to eat a banana out of a you-know-what on stage. Yes, you read that right.
The ladies rent their windows for around 100-150 euro a shift, and the popular ones take in between 500-700 a day. Some fill out tax returns and many belong to a loose union, the Red Thread. In better economic times many of the woman had gone by 1:00am but these days most of them work to 3:30 am. There is a lot of talk about how much control the prostitutes have over their future and how they are forced into debt and drugs, although this topic is up for debate with the girls and locals. The city (generally) has taken the view that some of the windows should be closed which has seen about 25% of the windows closed to working girls in recent years under Project 1012 and put into the hands of people and projects that the city considers more attractive.
The area has much more to offer than prostitutes and sex shows though. Here you can find a vast selection of bars, coffeeshop's, cafe's, adult stores, quirky attractions, seed shops, museums, and even a radio station. The Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum and the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution are popular among tourists and you might even spot the Dam Essential Party & Smoke Boat parked up outside the cities oldest building - Oude Kerk.
The Red Light District is clearly an experience like no other, and one that should be approached with an open-mind and with judgement left at the door of your hotel. While the infamous streets that make up the Red Light District create a play-land for adults, it should be considered that the girls behind the windows are people too and should be treat that way.
DAM ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR RED LIGHT DISTRICT:
-Don't take photos of the girls or you can expect to lose your phone or have something unpleasant chucked at you.
-Don't buy drugs off the street - Unless you want to spend your hard earned cash on dental anesthetic (Or worse, there was a case of 3 British lads passing away after unwittingly snorting white heroin being passed off as Cocaine in 2014)
-If you're drunk keep your wits about you as it's not unheard of to be pick-pocketed or have some extra money go missing while taking advantage of the services on offer.
-If you plan on using the services, negotiate and agree on what exactly you're paying for and how much you are going to pay otherwise don't be surprised to pay extra for services you may have assumed were included.
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