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You need to know these facts below before visiting!
This neighbourhood is known worldwide as the Red Light District, but in the Netherlands it is called De Wallen.
A city archaeologist describes (in this Amsterdam app) what De Wallen means:
The word ‘Wallen’ comes from the canals that cross section the Red Light District; the Oudezijds Voorburgwal and the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. A ‘burgwal’ means ‘defensive wall’ with a canal in front, but now the name is used for the canals itself, which were dug as a defense for Amsterdam.
With 201 window brothels, De Wallen is the largest prostitution area in the Netherlands. The window brothels are rented out by window brothel operators during the day and at night.
De Wallen can accommodate up to 402 sex workers per day. However, it never happens that all Red Light windows are rented out during the day as well as at night.
Over time, the number of Amsterdam Red Light windows decreased significantly. In 2011 this neighborhood still had 297 window brothels. And in 2006 this number was even 401.
It’s estimated that there are about 350 prostitutes working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam.
The majority of the prostitutes prefer to work night shifts.
The Red Light District in Amsterdam is always open to visit. This is partly because it is an inhabited neighborhood. That is why De Wallen can be visited 7 days a day, 24 hours a day.
However, it is not the case that everything in the area is accessible 24/7. The window brothels are closed between 6am and 8am. Most restaurants close at midnight. And bars are open until 3 PM on weekends.
Although many sex workers would, they cannot accept credit card payments. This is because payment companies do not want to be associated with sex work.
As a result, payment companies and banks do not accept sex workers as customers. Therefor, sex workers’ clients cannot pay by credit card.
Window prostitutes in Amsterdam charge at least 50 euro for sex for 15 minutes.
Customers and prostitutes usually negotiate prices and services at the entrance of the window brothel.
The Red Light District is currently inhabited by 4,465 residents. In 2019, De Wallen had 4,295 inhabitants.
The age distribution of the residents in the Red Light District looks like this:
✦ 0 – 15 years: 200 inhabitants
✦ 15 – 25 years: 695 inhabitants
✦ 25 – 45 years: 2,195 inhabitants
✦ 45 – 65 years: 940 inhabitants
✦ > 65 years: 425 inhabitants
The above figures come from this population survey.
In 2020, 1,756 crimes were recorded by the police in the Red Light District in Amsterdam.
The top five most committed crimes in this neighborhood:
Local crime investigation in Amsterdam has shown the above figures.
It is not allowed to smoke tobacco in cannabis shops which are also known as coffeeshops.
In the Netherlands it is prohibited by law to smoke tobacco inside public buildings such as restaurants, cafes, museums, etc. This also applies to cannabis shops. It is only allowed to smoke weed or hash inside.
There are 9 laws for coffeeshops in Holland which must be strictly adhered to.
In the heart of the Red Light District there is a daycare center for the children of the neighbourhood. To the left of this kindergarten is a 5D Porn Cinema. And on the right side are 6 window brothels in which prostitutes from Latin America work.
It dates from the year 1213, making De Oude Kerk the oldest building in Amsterdam.
It’s located in the heart of the Red Light District and surrounded by window brothels with prostitutes. Making it not only the oldest building in Amsterdam, but also one of the most special buildings in the world. This is the only active church in the world where window brothels with sex workers are only meters away.
When you buy weed or hash at Amsterdam’s most famous coffee shop, part of it automatically goes to charity.
The owner of the famous coffeeshop The Bulldog – Henk de Vries – donates part of his turnover to the Salvation Army every year. And every Bulldog employee must also work one day a year at the Amsterdam’s Salvation Army.
This is because Henk de Vries was born and raised in the Red Light District. In his early teens, he was helped by the Salvation Army front woman who put him on the right path. She made sure that he behaved well, which was an essential part of his successful entrepreneurship in later life. In a Dutch radio interview Henk de Vries said that without Major Bosshardt – he would not have become successful.
As an eternal thanks for this, Henk de Vries continuously provides financial support to the Salvation Army. This organization provides shelter, food and mental support for the homeless.
On June 10, 1634, Rembrandt married Saskia Uylenburgh in the Oude Kerk located in the De Wallen.
On this day, the Dutch painter signed the marriage register of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. Reverend Johannes Silvius signed the marriage register for Saskia Uylenburgh. The civil wedding also took place in the Oude Kerk.
The Dutch are known for their commercial spirit. This was also the case in the past.
In the 17th century, the Dutch set up the first stock exchange in the world. Right in the Red Light District. Still today you can see the Amsterdam stock exchange from the Red Light District. Go to the Warmoesstraat. It’s the building diagonally opposite the Condomerie.
On Warmoesstraat 90 – an entrance street in the Red Light District – you can find the oldest preserved house in Amsterdam. This house dates from 1485.
Currently a gay club is located here where erotic parties are given. It is only accessible to men.
The second oldest in Amsterdam dates from 1528 and is located in the Begijnhof.
Do not take pictures of the sex workers in the Red Light District. They do not want this. Often for privacy reasons.
Sex workers often lead a double life. Not everyone in their area is aware of their work as a prostitute. Respect this, follow the local etiquette and do not make pictures of prostitutes.
Do you really want to make a good impression on the sex workers? Kindly say goodbye to them when you walk by.
It is of course allowed to take photos of all other highlights in the Red Light District.
Local Amsterdam legislation does not allow drinking on the street in the Red Light District. Violation can be punished with a fine of 95 euros.
There are several signs in De Wallen that indicate that it is not allowed to drink alcohol in this area. It is allowed to consume alcohol on the terraces of the cafes and restaurants.
In general, women do not have to pay for sex. This is the main reason why there are no straight male sex workers for female clients in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The demand is simply too low and the cost are too high.
The low demand and high costs do not make it financially interesting for straight men to work in window brothels.
Women who are willing to pay for sex can do this in Amsterdam with male escorts. This method of sex work is financially interesting for straight male escorts. This is because they do not have to rent a window brothel, which is associated with high costs. The male escorts can then simply wait until they are booked via the internet or by telephone.
Straight women who book escorts often have an erotic fantasy that they have fulfilled.
Most male escorts in The Netherlands are gay.
Of all neighborhoods in the Netherlands, the Red Light District ranks fifth as a neighborhood with the most space for pedestrians.
It shares the place with another neighborhood in Amsterdam, namely the Spaarndammer and Zeeheldenbuurt. This is evident from a study that examined the spatial distribution in Dutch neighborhoods.
The Burgwallen Oude Zijde District has a total of 2,095 business locations. This data was collected and published in 2019 by AlleCijfers.nl
In the Netherlands it is allowed to buy so-called magic truffles from the age of 18. Smartshops are allowed to sell these psychedelic drugs.
The staff members of these smart shops are also obliged to properly inform customers. There are four smart shops in the Red Light District where magic truffles.
Amsterdam’s Red Light District is one of the few places in the world where there is a statue for sex workers.
It stands in the middle of the area, next to De Oude Kerk. The statue is called Belle. A fictional person stands in a window brothel and represents all the sex workers in the world. On the statue is written: Respect sex workers around the world.
The initiative for this sex worker sculpture came from Mariska Majoor. She is an ex prostitute, founder of the Prostitution Information Center and sex worker activist.
Red Light District in Amsterdam has five museums. One about Dutch history and religion, one about cannabis, one about sex, one about prostitution and one about watches.
Discover these 5 Incredible Museums in Amsterdam here and get the best e-tickets now!
Many different types of fish live in the canals and rivers of Amsterdam. Pike, roach, perch, bream and carp can be found in the canals of Amsterdam. Also in the Red Light District.
There is hardly any fishing here. However, magnet fishermen can be spotted regularly.
Amsterdam Red Light District Map
Amsterdam Red Light District FAQ