20 Red Light District Etiquette Customs & Local Laws
Before visiting Amsterdam it is important that you are informed about the Red Light District Etiquette and local laws that play an important role in this area, that is locally known as De Wallen.
A really important Red Light District etiquette is to not take pictures of the sex workers. They value their privacy and sometimes come after you if they see you taking a picture. It is okay to take a picture of the buildings, streets of window brothels though.
Always have respect for the women standing behind the windows. Laughing at them or making jokes is frowned upon in Amsterdam.
Try to walk on the sidewalk as much as possible, or on the right side of the street. This is how traffic operates in Amsterdam and it prevents you from crashing into cyclists.
When you make (long) eye contact with somebody, a friendly smile in response is considered normal in Amsterdam/ Holland.
The same goes for sex-workers when making eye contact, give them a friendly smile.
Don’t shout whilst walking the streets. The Red Light District in Amsterdam is a normal neighbourhood like any other part of town where regular people live, work and sleep.
Sex workers generally do not accept credit cards or other forms of digital payment. If you want to visit a prostitute in Amsterdam, make sure that you have enough cash (euros) on you.
Another Red Light District etiquette is that you don’t start a negotiation with a sex worker with a too low price offer. This can be taken as an insult. The starting price for any serious negotiation is 40 or 50,- euros.
Bicyclists in Amsterdam tend to go fast in Amsterdam, even some streets of the Red Light District! Keep this in mind whilst walking the streets and always give way to bicyclists.
When you have a rental bike make sure that both your head- and tail light work! This is required by Dutch law and the police can give you a ticket of 55,- euros for it. If your rental bike has a flashing light option don’t put them on that mode! You can also get a ticket of 55,- euro for flashing lights.
Everybody in the Netherlands is required by law to have their ID’s on them.
Drinking alcohol in the Netherlands is legal from the age of 18.
Most Amsterdammers enjoy helping tourists or making small talk with them. Almost al the people in Amsterdam speak proper English. Amsterdammers generally don’t speak French, Spanish, Italian or any other foreign Language.
It’s common practice to make a reservation for restaurants in Amsterdam and the Red Light District.
Don’t argue or fight with bouncers, it’s a waste of time and when push comes to shove they’ll kick your ass.
It is forbidden by law to drink alcohol on the streets in the Red Light District. The fine is 95 euro.
You can not enter a coffeeshop when you are under the age of 18.
Don’t buy any drugs from persons/ dealers standing in the streets. This is illegal and they mostly sell fake drugs anyway.
If you don’t have any experience in smoking weed, but want to try it whilst visiting the Red Light District, make sure that you have a full stomach before you start. Whilst smoking the weed have some sugary drink (cola) on hand for when you might feel dizzy. For more info check out this article.
You can of course always ask our local guides for further tips when visiting Amsterdam. They have all the info you need on nice restaurants, bars, museums, coffeeshops, Dutch culture, etc.