In this photo, taken on February 4, 2014, a hologram of a beckoning woman is shown at the entrance of the Red Light Secrets museum in Amsterdam. Picture: AP Photo/Evert Elzinga.
In this photo, taken on February 4, 2014, a hologram of a beckoning woman is shown at the entrance of the Red Light Secrets museum in Amsterdam. Picture: AP Photo/Evert Elzinga.

Is Amsterdam cleaning up its sex act? Famed red-light district might move outside the city

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Feb 2, 2021

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In February last year, the local government in Amsterdam banned guided tours that took travellers past windows in the city's red-light district.

Travellers would watch semi-naked sex workers pose. The move was made to protect workers the Dutch capital's red-light district and control overtourism that has crept into the destination in recent years.

By May, during the height of the pandemic and when the Netherlands went into semi-lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, locals started to venture out without worry.

There were little to no tourists around, which gave them ample opportunity to meet their neighbours. One resident, Charlotte Schenk, 35, who lives in one of the brick canal buildings surrounding the monumental Old Church with her young family, said people were "having a good time together".

Fast forward almost a year later.

According to The Daily Mail, Amsterdam officials are considering relocating its red-light district and making changes to its historical city centre to lure “better quality” tourists.

Mayor Femke Halsema wants the attention to turn away from sex and drugs to something more favourable to locals.

Her proposals include moving the red-light district to a purpose-built erotic centre outside the main hub.

There is also a consideration to reduce the number of cannabis coffee shops and banning foreign tourists from being served in them.

Halsema told DutchNews.nl: "The demand has exploded. It gives rise to huge problems with criminal behaviour, corruption, and levels of nuisance we no longer find desirable. Tourists don’t just come to smoke dope, but to drink, maybe not to use sex workers but to hang around in front of their doors. The coffeeshops play a huge role in this." (sic)

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