Posted on: August 1, 2018
Before visiting Amsterdam’s most fascinating area it might be a good idea to get acquainted with the most important Red Light District laws. We made an useful list with the 10 most important local laws.
In some areas in Amsterdam a public ban on alcohol is enforced. The Red Light District is one of those areas. It is therefor forbidden to drink alcohol in the public spaces (on the streets) and it’s forbidden to have bottles or cans of alcoholic drinks on you. A fine of € 95,- is imposed on violations of the alcohol ban. The local police and municipality enforcers uphold the ban.
Street signs with red circles indicate that something is not allowed in the Netherlands. The sign in the picture above means that it is not allowed to drink alcohol on the streets in this area; the Red Light District.
It’s forbidden for sex workers to offer or promote their services on the streets of the Red Light District. The law applies on, or next to the road, or in a publicly accessible building. It’s also forbidden for possible customers to in any way accept proposals, in whatever form, to make use of their services. The fine for street prostitution for both the sex worker and the customer is € 115,-.
Current Red Light District laws do not prohibit the smoking of cannabis outside on the streets. There are some public places in Amsterdam where smoking a joint outside is prohibited though. These places are: children’s playgrounds and school squares. In the Netherlands you are legally allowed to have 5 grams of weed on you for personal use. The unwritten law when it comes to smoking weed in the Netherlands is that people do it at home or in a coffeeshop. If you do smoke outside make sure that you are not a hindrance to other people. So don’t smoke a joint in front of houses with open windows for instance.
Everyone aged 14 and older in the Netherlands must be able to identify himself or herself with a valid ID. For persons aged 16 or over who fail to comply with the obligation to identify themselves the fine is € 60,-. For persons aged 14 and 15, the fine is € 30,-. Only certain government officials can ask for your ID. These are: police officers, ticket inspectors (public transport) and special enforcement officers (BOA’s in Dutch) like labor inspectors and forest wardens.
Window prostitution businesses are allowed to be open to visitors from 08:00 am to 06:00 am. Yes, the window brothels are op 22 hours a day! The women tend to work in 8 hour shifts.
Do not throw soda cans, plastic bags or other (empty) product packagings onto the streets. If the local authorities catch you doing this, it will cost you € 140,-. Besides, why even litter in such a beautiful city?
In Amsterdam it is forbidden to use the road as a place to sleep or to use a vehicle, boat, caravan, tent or any other accommodation as a place to sleep or to offer these options. The authorities lately have been clamping down hard on people who sleep in their own car. The price for some nice quiet time in your own car is € 140,-.
It is currently forbidden to operate prostitution-hotels in the city of Amsterdam. In prostitution hotels rooms are made available to prostitutes who recruit their clients elsewhere. These types of hotels are forbidden because they go hand in hand with street prostitution.
However, escorts in Amsterdam often go with their clients to hotels. Most of the time, clients stay in a normal hotel in the city and invite the escort to their room. That is legal though! Read more about this here.
Providers of tours in the Red Light District have to comply with strict rules that were in implemented in April 2018. If a guide gives a tour to five people or more, he/she needs a government exemption. With larger tour groups there is a set limit of 20 persons max. If the tour group is too big the tour will be ended and the guide and his or her company will be fined. After 7 pm no guided tours are allowed to operate, this includes pub crawls. More info about these new rules can be found here. Want to have the best tour experience with a licensed tour guide? Simply book one of our tours here. All our guides have an exemption of the City of Amsterdam.
It is forbidden for sex workers (or their promoters) to advertise sex services on the streets. The fine for this is € 115,-. In general, prostitutes do not want to work on the street at all because it is less safe, less comfortable and it makes less money. In the 1950’s & 1960’s, some prostitutes worked on the streets in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Also because there were less window brothels. Those days are over now because Amsterdam has nowadays over 350 window brothels.
Yes, tours are still allowed in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. However, there are some new local laws for this. For example: from April 1st, 2020, the maximum allowed number of people in the tours will be 15 instead of 20. Here you can read all other new rules for tours in the Red Light District.