Amsterdam Red Light District Guide

In addition to being one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city, Amsterdam's Red Light District is best known for its endless string of "window brothels", drug dealers and pick-pockets. Technically, there are three Red Light Districts in Amsterdam, the main one being the Walletjes area (between Centraal Station and Nieuwenmarkt), and the other two, in Singel (between Raadhuistraat and Centraal Station) and de Pijp (behind the Rijksmuseum). Despite the seeming seediness of this area, it is a very popular tourist destination. In addition to the brothels and drugs, there are quaint taverns, beautiful bridges, public artwork and lovely views throughout the neighborhood.


With narrow, winding cobblestone streets and 14th century architecture, the Red Light District is a classically old European neighborhood. In the summertime, a stroll along the shaded canals is accompanied by the music of outdoor concerts and the quaintly unstable-looking old buildings are great photo opportunities. Of course, though pleasant, these are not the main reasons for which tourists visit the Red Light District.


Upon entering the Red Light District, near the train station, you will be bombarded with a barrage of prostitutes (in this particular area, most of the prostitutes are from Africa) and drug dealers. You will find, though, that the deeper you get into the district, the less aggressive are the various peddlers. The fact that prostitution is a legal enterprise in Amsterdam, as is drug-dealing, means that the business interactions are more organized and civil than in any other city in the world.

Lining every street in the Red Light District are the famous "window brothels". The title is self-explanatory, as the prostitutes sit behind windows dressed seductively in lingerie and enticing passers-by. In the more popular areas of the Red Light District, the girls get prettier and the rates get higher and women are often called in as temporary subs for absentee workers.

In the area near Bloedstraat street, the majority of the prostitutes are transsexual or trans-gender and the brothels here will cater to whatever your specific whim. In addition to the window brothels, the Red Light District has a multitude of cafés, coffee shops, brown cafés and venues for live sex shows.

The district itself is small, and can be walked straight through in a matter of minutes. Of course, the neighborhood deserves more attention than this, and visitors can spend hours wandering the streets of this fascinating area which is, without a doubt, unlike any other place in the world.