History, Hookers & Hashish
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One of our goals is to inform people about Amsterdam’s Red Light District as best as possible. The Red Light District area is very unique and therefore it raises lots of questions. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have – on our website or during our fascinating walking tours.
Fox News & Yahoo have listed our Red Light District tours as one of the wackiest tours around the world! Our startup has also been listed other big media companies like The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Metro, World Travel Guide, Het Parool, The Post Internazionale and Holiday Extras Travel Guide.
Q: Why join a Red Light District Walking Tour?
In this video, Holiday Extras Travel Guide give you some insight to Amsterdam’s Red Light District, show you some things to look out for on the walking tour and, generally, give you a little snapshot of the highlights you’ll be taken on this eye-opening experience.
Additionally, our tours are ranked among the best tours & activities in Amsterdam on Tripadvisor. We’ll teach you what the Red Light District is really all about. Get to know the Dutch culture and its history by joining our walking tours in the Red Light District.
Besides our daily tours, we host a Meet & Greet with the oldest prostitute twins of the world; Martine & Louise Fokkens. They have worked in the Red Light District for 50 years! That’s right… 50 years! The twins are now 74 years old and have recently retired. We are proud to say that we are the only company which offers a meet and greet tour with world’s most famous prostitutes!
All our tours are hosted by local guides who are Dutch themselves and who speak perfectly English. They can tell you everything about Amsterdam, the Red Light District and the Dutch way of life. If you fancy a drink after the tour, our guides can bring you to their favourite spots and might even join if you’d like that. Great way to meet a local!
Our tours are fun, interesting and exciting! And wacky, of course
Q: How do I book a Red Light District Tour?
A: An online booking is required to join one of our tours. For an overview of our tours, click here. Or click on the button below to make a reservation:
Q: How do I pay for a tour?
A: If you book a tour online, you don’t have to pay in advance. Instead, you can pay the local guide in cash during the tour. Only the online booking is required.
Q: Where is the meeting point?
A: The meeting point for a Red Light District Tour is always 2 meters in front of the white National Monument on Dam Square.
Q: How do I recognize the tour guide?
A: The tour guide always wears a black hat with our logo on it: a red light. He or she will be there a few minutes before the tour starts.
Q: In which language do you offer the Red Light District Tours?
A: We offer all our tours in English. Needless to say, our local guides also speak Dutch fluently. If you’d like to join a Red Light District tour in Dutch, Spanish, German or Italian, send us a special request here.
Q: Where does the tour end?
A: Usually we end the tour in the heart of the Red Light District. After our tour, people are usually fascinated by it and realise how beautiful and safe this area actually is. Most people want to stay in Red Light District a bit longer – for a drink or so. Therefor we make our last stop in the RLD. Of course, we can also bring you back to the meeting point on Dam Square if you want to.
Q: What is the duration of the Red Light District Tour?
A: We have several tours. Most of them have a duration of approximately 1.5 hours, some take 2 hours though. Please have a look on our homepage for more details.
Q: Is there a minimum age for your tours?
A: No, we do not have a minimum age for our Red Light District Tours because the an area without age restrictions. Amsterdam’s Red Light District is a residential area with around 8.000 to 9.000 inhabitants inhabitants from all parts of society; rich, middle & underclass, students, elderly, religious & non-religious people and yes also children. There is even a daycare in the Red Light District that is located next to window brothels and next to the oldest church of Amsterdam. Do yo want to see this daycare with your own eyes? Join us during our tours and our local guide will show you where it’s at.
We’d like to show everybody what this area is all about. This unique neighborhood shows perfectly how liberal and open-minded the Dutch are.
Q: What’s the difference between the normal Red Light District Tour and the Exclusive Red Light District Tour?
A: The main difference is the number of attendees. Our exclusive walking tour allows a maximum of 8 persons and the normal Red Light District allows a maximum of 25 attendees. Some people prefer a smaller group which is more personal and gives them the option to move at their own pace.
Q: Do you offer Red Light District Tours in Spanish, German, French or Italian?
A: YES, we do offer Spanish, German & Italian tours on request. Please send a request via our contact form here. Currently, we do not offer French tours though.
Q: Where are the Red Light District areas in Amsterdam?
A: The Red Light District is located south (10 minutes walking) of Central Station, the main train station. The area itself is about one square kilometer in size.
Obviously, it’s much easier to walk around with our local guide who can show you the best, hidden alleys. Something you really need to see!
Q: What hours is the Red Light District open?
A: The Red Light District is always open – don’t forget that it’s a residential area. It can be visited 24/7. The window brothels are only closed for 2 hours between 6am and 8am. Most bars and clubs close at 3 or 4 am in the weekends.
Q: Is the Red Light District open on Sunday’s?
A: Yes, the Red Light District in Amsterdam is open on Sunday’s. Actually, the Red Light District is open 7 days a week!
Q: Is the Red Light District open during Christmas?
A: Yes, Amsterdam’s Red Light District is open during Christmas. Most of the (Dutch) prostitutes who have their family here in the Netherlands, do not work during Christmas. However, the Eastern European sex workers (who come from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, etc) are usually the ones who work during Christmas. For them Christmas can be a good time to work because there is less competition which result in more customers. The Red Light District of Amsterdam has 278 window brothels and around 50 of them will be closed during Christmas. Most of the shops in the RLD will be closed too.
Good to know: In the Netherlands we celebrate Christmas on three days; the 24th of December (Christmas eve), 25th (first Christmas Day) & 26th of December (second Christmas Day).
Fun to do during Christmas: Join our Red Light District Tours and get to know all its secrets! We can answer all your questions.
Q: What is the best time to visit the Red Light District?
A: Although prostitutes can rent a window all day and night, most of them work during the evening- and nighttime because this is when they have most customers. Furthermore, the sight of the red lights reflecting on the dark canals looks best when it’s dark outside. Therefore, the best time to visit the Red Light District is somewhere between 5 pm and 1 am.
Amsterdam’s Red Light District is most busy between Thursday’s and Sunday’s from 7 pm till 11.30 pm. These are the days when most people are in town. If you prefer going through the area when it’s calmer, then we’d advice you to visit it on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Somewhere between 7 am and 6 pm.
Q: How do I get to the Red Light District from the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport?
A: The cheapest and fastest way to get from Amsterdam airport to Amsterdam Central Station is definitely by train. The train departs 6 times per hour. A train ticket will cost you 4 Euros (5.50 Dollars). Within 18 minutes you will arrive in the city centre of Amsterdam. More information on the public transport in The Netherlands can be found on this website. This is the public transport site in The Netherlands, which the locals use to get from A to B.
Tip: Check out this Youtube video which perfectly shows how to take the train from Amsterdam airport to the red light district.
When you arrive on Central Station, you can easily walk to the red light district of Amsterdam. It’s just a 5 – 10 minute walk.
Interesting, fun, healthy and the most comfortable way to explore the Red Light District is by joining our tours. Within 1.5 hours you’ll get to know everything you need. Our local experts show you best, hidden places that tourists never see.
Q: Is the Red Light District safe?
A: Yes, the Red Light District is one of the safest area’s in Amsterdam.
The Red Light District is the entrance of Holland’s capital. It’s just a 2 minute walk away from Amsterdam’s Central Station. One of the many reasons why this area is so popular among locals and tourists. This is also why the city of Amsterdam makes sure that the Red Light District remains safe. What happens in the Red Light District reflects on the rest of Amsterdam. The reputation and perception of both are inextricably linked. The local government took many measures during the last decades to make this area safer. There are lots of police camera’s and police officers in the Red Light District. They do patrols by bike, by foot and even by horse.
This area in Amsterdam is filled with beautiful old houses. Houses which can only be bought by the richest among us. Old houses in the Red Light can cost up to 1.5 million Euros. That’s 1,68 million Dollars! There are approximately 8000 people who live in the Red Light District and approximately 25.000 people who work here. That’s quit a lot for an area where everything is within walking distance. All these people wouldn’t live or work here, if it wasn’t safe.
The only thing you have to do in this area is to mind your belongings and the traffic! Do you want to let a local guide show you around in the Red Light District? Join the best Red Light District Tour in Amsterdam.
Q: Is it safe for the prostitutes to work in Amsterdam’s Red Light District?
A: Yes, it is.
In order to ensure the safety of every prostitute in the Netherlands, several measures have been implemented throughout the years:
There are more measures to ensure the safety in the Red Light District. CLICK HERE to read them all.
The Red Light District is a safe area for everyone: visitors, inhabitants and people who work here. Amsterdam has a lot of prostitutes that come from abroad and a reason for coming here is that things are relatively well organised here.
Q: Where can I find the “Spanish corner” in the Red Light District?
A: “Spanish Corner” is situated on the Old Church Square in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Most of the prostitutes who work in the so called “Spanish Corner” are originally from South-America. Our local guides will show you this area during one of our tours.
Q: How many sex workers are there in Amsterdam?
A: There isn’t a clear answer to this question, because the prostitution branche has several sectors which are not very transparent. The figures show that the sex workers without a licence are a substantial part of the total sector. This is mainly caused by prostitution done at home, which is legal as well in the Netherlands. It’s estimated that there are approximately 6000 sex workers in Amsterdam.
Q: How much can you earn as a prostitute behind the windows?
A: The gross income of a prostitute varies between 200 and 1500 Euro per day. That’s quite a wide range. The thing is that it is pretty difficult to give a clear answer to this question. Former prostitute (Metje Blaak) once explained on Dutch television that most prostitutes in Amsterdam nowadays earn somewhere between 5.000 to 10.000 Euros a month. That’s most likely before all the costs they have – like the rent they have to pay for the brothels.
The income of a prostitute in Amsterdam depends on various of factors, like: market value of the prostitute, the kind of service, budget of the client, length of the visit, the number of customers, weather, the day, etc. A internet study shows that most of the customers (58%) usually pay an amount between 50 and 70 euros per visit.
Recently, we interviewed a Dutch prostitute in the Red Light District. CLICK HERE to read it. It’s very interesting!
Some of the questions we asked her:
– Why did you become a prostitute?
– Some people can not believe that you’re doing this job, just because you like it! What is the reason for this?
– Do you ever get an orgasm during sex with your clients? If so, how many times does it happen?
Click on the link to read the interview with this prostitute.
It also appears that some customers are paying less than 50 euro for the offered services. According to several respondents, mainly the East European prostitutes offer their services for a lower rate than Dutch prostitutes. The Eastern European prostitutes are competitors for the other prostitutes in Amsterdam.
The amount that prostitutes have to pay for their workspace varies, but according to several respondents prices are between 100 and 150 euro a day. It varies a lot and it’s not something that sex workers want to shout from the rooftops. It depends on the number of hours worked, the method of working, location of the brothel, etc.
During our Red Light District Tours we’ll go deeper into this interesting subject.
Q: What kind of people are the clients?
A: 98% of all the clients of a prostitute are men, and men come in all shapes and sizes. Most men (around 60%) who visit a prostitute are married or have a partner. The nationalities of clients in this neighbourhood are of course very diverse.
Q: What is the average price for a visit to a prostitute?
A: Most of the prostitutes who work in the window brothels charge around 50 euro for a visit. For 50 euro you get around 15 minutes and prices are negotiable. Please be aware that proposing a price that is way too low, can be disrespectful.
Prostitutes in the Netherlands are self-employed and determine their own rates and work methods. Some have certain specialities like S&M, electro sex, bondage, etc. This makes them more unique than others, which allows them to charge more. Most of the prostitutes do this profession, because its their own choice. So these prostitutes decide for themselves who they allow in to have sex with and who they refuse. Please note that men who are too drunk and too annoying, will mostly be refused by the prostitutes.
You can approach the sex worker yourself if you are interested. The prostitutes also try to approach you, by ticking on the window to get your attention. If you’re interested in a hand job they might charge less. Perhaps 20 Euros, if you’re lucky (or if you’re a good negotiator)
Do you wanna know more about Amsterdam’s red light district secrets? Join a tour and one of our local guides will tell you all the secrets during our tour through the oldest part of Amsterdam.
Q: What kind of people live in Amsterdam’s Red Light District?
A: This neighbourhood attracts people from all walks of life: Young, old, rich, students, expats… There are people who were born and raised here. It must be said the Amsterdam’s Red Light District is an area which is popular to live in. Finding an apartment/house can be quite difficult, as there are usually more buyers than sellers.
The most expensive house we’ve seen in the Red Light District, was on the market for 1.5 million euro. Usually it works like this in Amsterdam: Houses which are a few hundred years old, are very popular and expensive. As the Red Light District is the oldest part of Amsterdam, it has many old houses from the 18th or 17th century that are worth a lot!
Q: Do prostitutes use drugs?
A: These days, a lot of people from all walks of life and all social classes use drugs. Prostitution and drugs don’t necessarily go hand in hand. It is a social misconception that all or most prostitutes use drugs and that they start working in prostitution to pay for their drugs. The proportion of drug-addicted prostitutes is in fact really small. There are no heroin-addicted prostitutes in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. You’ll be surprised to see how healthy the sex workers are in Amsterdam.
Q: What facilities exist for prostitutes to get health checks?
A: In the Red Light District is a special STD clinic of the GG&GD (Public health service), where prostitutes, anyone can go for an anonymous health check for venereal diseases. Of course in the Netherlands it’s possible to go to a regular hospital or GP for a check-up; the fact that you let yourself get checked up from time to time is nothing to be ashamed of. Consistent condom use is actually much more important than frequent or compulsory health checks.
Q: Is prostitution legal in the Netherlands?
A: Yes it’s legal. Working as a prostitute is legal in the Netherlands for approximately 200 years now.
Q: What kind of safety measures are there for prostitutes in Holland?
A: In order to ensure the safety of every prostitute in the Netherlands, the Dutch government has implemented some ground rules throughout the years. For the sex workers in the Red Light District it basically comes down to the following points: 10 Safety Measures for Prostitutes in the Red Light District.
Q: Are there also male prostitutes who stand behind the windows in Amsterdam?
A: Find out during our Red Light District Tours with a local guide 😉
Q: What’s the difference between the red, purple or blue lights in Amsterdam’s Red Light District?
A: There’s no difference between the red and purple lights.
The only light which is really different than the other ones in the Red Light District are the blue lights. In general, transgender prostitutes use these blue lights. The transgender sex workers offer themselves in a specific area in the RLD. During our tours, our local guide will show you where it is.
Would you like to know more about male prostitution? We spoke with a straight guy who started working as a performer at Casa Rosso. Eventually he became a male sex worker who had mostly older male customers. Quite interesting story! Click on the following link to read this interesting interview with a male prostitute in Amsterdam.
Q: How much money is generated by the industry?
About 650 million euro annually, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Q: Are there any famous prostitutes in Amsterdam’s Red Light District?
Yes there are! There are two very famous Dutch twins in the Netherlands who have worked as prostitutes for 50 years. They are known as “The Old Hookers”. Their real names are Martine & Louise Fokkens.
These twin sisters are now 74 years old and have retired a few years ago. The Fokkens experienced a lot in the Red Light District! Nowadays they share their stories with people during our tours. Would you like to meet and greet the Old Hookers? Book our Meet the Old Hooker Tour in Amsterdam. It’s big fun!
Martine & Louise Fokkens are the only famous prostitutes in the Netherlands. All the other sex workers like to stay anonymous.
Q: I would like to work as a prostitute in Amsterdam. What are the requirements?
A: In order to work as a sex worker in Amsterdam someone you must meet the following requirements:
Q: Is the presence of tourists appreciated in Amsterdam’s Red Light District?
A: Yes, most definitely! Please do have consideration for the inhabitants of the Red Light District and the people who work there, who desire respect for who they are, and what they do.
Q: Can you take photos in the Red Light District
A: Yes, you can take photo’s in the Red Light District. The only thing that you can not take pictures of, are the prostitutes in Amsterdam.
The prostitutes don’t want to be photographed! They like to stay anonymous. Every prostitute has her own reason for this. For many years people have taken photographs of prostitutes without their permission, and this has led to a lot of irritation, fights and camera’s ending up in the canals.
It’s totally fine to make pictures of the beautiful buildings, bars, churches and canals in the Red Light District. Just respect the sex workers of Amsterdam and don’t take pictures of them.
Q: Where can I find good restaurants in the Red Light District?
There are many good restaurants in this area, but also loads of bad ones. Here are some of our favorite restaurants:
We’ve listed most of the restaurants in the Red Light District. CLICK HERE to see them all. Some of these restaurants are reviewed by us or other locals. Of course, you can also ask our local guide during one of our Amsterdam Red Light District tours. He will be happy to share the best spots in town.
Q: Are there stripclubs in the Red Light District?
Yes, of course! The Red Light District wouldn’t be complete if there weren’t strip clubs to be found. There are several places you could go to.
The first place we would recommend is Sex Palace Peep Show. This is a theatre in which the paying visitor gets to see a person that takes explicit sexual poses. It offers a variety of sex shows which can be viewed from a small cabin (or booth). The visitor needs to insert a couple of Euros to start the erotic entertainment show. The Sex Palace Peep Show is also one of the many highlights of our Red Light District Walking Tour. Join our tour and we’ll show you the inside of this place. You gotta see this!
La Vie en Proost is a lap dance bar in Amsterdam which offers gogo girls, lap dancers, topless women and a variety of videos. Besides that, with their catchy slogan “A lapdance a day keeps the doctor away”, The Hospital Bar is a new place in town since September 2014. In this theme bar, several sexy “nurses” will serve you to make you feel better. Like a real hospital, there are hospital beds to have a seat in and surgery lamps which shine their coloured lights on the erotic dancing nurses.
If you like themed bars, another option may be The Bananabar. Guess what plays the central role in here? Right, bananas! The waitressess can do several tricks with them during their dance performances but of course sometimes the bananas are ignored when the girls are busy with a lapdance treat.
If you’d like to see a striptease in a theatre, there are twoo places to go. The first is Moulin Rouge. This is a theatre with live sex shows and striptease, which take place 4 times an hour. The second theatre to watch live sex on stage is the well known Casa Rosso. This place was already founded in 1969 and with the 200 seats they have to offer, it’s bigger (and more expensive..) than Moulin Rouge. Notice that the erotic theatres include lots of comedy into their shows, so if you’re looking for the more “serious stuff”;) it’s better not to go there. For more information about the differtent strip and sexclubs and their exact locations, click here.
Q: Where can I find good bars in the Red Light District?
With about 1.500 different cafes and bars to choose from, there is no excuse for being thirsty in Amsterdam. They can be found on just about every street, corner or canal and all of them offer something different. The Red Light District offers a vast range of themed bars (everything from Irish pubs to sport bars and Australian hang-outs or cocktail bars). There are also some wonderful Grand Cafes and a fine range of hostelries for those who like things a little more chic and trendy.
One of our favorite places in the Red Light District is The Burger Fabric on Amsterdam’s Warmoesstraat. This is the only place in the area where you can tap your own beers! They have lovely finger food as well. And they stay open late!
One of the most famous bars at the Red Light district is “The Old Sailor“. Located in the middle of the Red Light District, this it the spot if you want to have a drink with a nice view on THE canal where everything happens! The Old Sailor is a brown pub with a big bar and decorated with a lot of tools which were used on ships. Outside is a big wooden bench where you can sit as well to catch some sun in the afternoon. If you like to go to a bar where they brew their own beers, we can definitely recommend Beer Brewery The Prael. This hidden gem combines employing disabled people with brewing their own most delicious beers. Additionally, this place looks very atmospheric and is a place where both locals and tourists meet up for a refreshing drink.
The weekday opening hours for bars are from 11am to 1am and during the weekend to 4am. For an overview of the most well known bars in the Red Light District and their locations, CLICK HERE.
Q: Are there good hotels in or near the Red Light District?
A: Yes, there are a lot of good hotels in or near the Red Light District. A few examples are: Sofitel Legend The Grand, Hotel Luxer, Barbizon Palace & Hotel Krasnapolsky. We’ve made a list of the 10 best hotels in the Red Light District of Amsterdam.
Q: Which hostels in Amsterdam Red Light District would you recommend?
A: We’d recommend the St. Christophers Inn at the Winston – this place offers cheap dorms with bunk bed, comfortable single or double rooms and a club next door. Good place!
Q: I have a question that isn’t answered here. Can you help me?
A: Of course! If your question is not listed here and can’t been found somewhere else on our website, please do not hesitate to CONTACT US.
We’ll try to answer your question within 24 hours! One of our goals is to inform people about Amsterdam as best as possible. The red light district area is very unique and therefore it raises lots of questions from both international and Dutch tourists. The famous red light district in Amsterdam continuously changes. Whether it’s the law that is changing or new prostitutes who decide to join this profession. This neighbourhood is always on the move!
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