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Former Amsterdam Sex Worker Interview

Posted on: maart 20, 2020

sex worker in another world

An Interview With Sex Worker Activist Mariska Majoor

One of Holland’s most known sex worker expert – Mariska Majoor – shares her secrets and expertise about one of the oldest professions in the world during this exclusive interview. We frequently speak to experts in order to provide the best information, on our website and during our Red Light District tours.

Mariska has been a sex worker herself. She has not been an escort but a window prostitute a sex worker in brothel or a so called ‘privehuis’ in Dutch.

She founded the Prostitution Information Center, was the initiator and chairman of the Dutch union for sex workers and she even received a royal honour for her decades of commitment to sex workers and the Red Light District.

So Mariska, you started working as a sex worker when you were 16 years old…

Mariska: Long, long time ago.

amsterdam red light area
The Red Light District of Amsterdam.

Nowadays the minimum age to become a sex worker is 21 here in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. What do you think of this?

I do think 16 is too young. I agree with people who always told me that.  I see two sides of it. People say that you’re an adult when you turn 18. From then on you can drink alcohol in the Netherlands or buy cannabis. A lot is allowed from that age, but you may not offer sexual services.

I was always against raising the minimum age to 21 because of all that. But nowadays I think it’s better. when you are 21 years old, you are more confident and more capable of making decisions. Especially about complicated stuff like sex work. But working at a younger age should never be criminalised. That’s asking for trouble.

Prostitution Pros vs Cons

You were a sex worker for 4 years. Could you explain the positive sides of being a sex worker? What did you like so much about the job?

belle monument amsterdam sex worker
Statue for sex workers in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

It’s not really about positive or negative. I mean it’s a job, sex work is work. We all have to work to make a living, create an income. Not everybody is always happy with the work that they do. I wasn’t a sex worker because I enjoyed it a lot, I was a sex worker because it came on my path. I didn’t really care and was okay with being a sex worker. But the most important reason why I did it was because I needed money, just like anyone else.

I think it’s not fair, the discussion about sex work is not an easy one. It’s not fair to talk about sex work as a positive thing or a negative thing. I think it’s time that people start looking at it as work. it is a way to have an income. It has positive and negative sides just like anything else in life.

For some people sex work is great. I mean if you enjoy sex as a game where you don’t mind doing it with different people. If that’s your hobby, then it’s definitely a great way to make a living! But I think that for most sex workers it is just a way of making money.

You know many sex workers personally and also met many abroad. What do you think they like most about the job? 

The most important thing is money. That goes for everybody. But besides money, it’s absolutely freedom. The freedom to make your own choices.

Playing with people in a sexual way and sexuality in general. Those are the things that make the job more interesting. That makes life interesting. But those are not on the top of the list.

Is it also like being strong, feeling powerful?

You feel powerful but that is not because of the work that you do. Let me give you an example. For my most recent book-project called “united under a red umbrella“, I visited some countries with my daughter where people are poor. My daughter and I created this book together and we met a lot of sex workers.

Former sex worker interview Amsterdam
Mariska and her daughter Robin.

Some of them did not make a concise choice to do this. It came on their path just like it came on mine many years ago. A lot of sex workers do not have the most easy circumstances. But the fact that they are able to make some money and to feed their children – and in many cases also the rest of their family – that is making them powerful.

So I’ve met a lot of people who felt more powerful since they started working as a sex worker. But I find it difficult to say that sex work makes you feel powerful because that is just too easy.

Sex worker rights Amsterdam
A sex workers campaign in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

So you think that many sex workers do this job because they can change their future and have a better life?

It depends on the country. In The Netherlands the circumstances are different as in Nigeria, India or the Dominican Republic. The countries that we visited for our book. I mean in the Dominican Republic we spoke to transgender sex workers who were kicked out of school at a very young age. They were kicked out of their homes at a very young age. All because they are transgender and thus not accepted in society. Sex work was the only option available to them. So their main problem is being a transgender and not being accepted because of that. They started to work as sex workers with the sole purpose of creating an income. Is it their first choice? No. They’d rather do something else, sex work is a way to survive.

But at the same time some of them started a sex workers organisation, helping each-other and talking to politicians about their situation. So there is absolutely an empowerment aspect to sex work. But I find it hard to explain, I hope you know what I mean. You know in the Netherlands our circumstances are so different. The Netherlands is not a poor country, so the stories of the sex workers here in Amsterdam’s Red Light District are different. We have less issues with corrupt police officers than abroad.

Sex work is legal in the Netherlands, society is a bit different. The Dutch are more tolerant about complicated issues such as sexuality and prostitution. So here it’s easier to stand up for yourself. We also have issues with stigma about sex work. But in the Netherlands people don’t throw stones at you or throw you in jail, when you’re a sex worker. They don’t kick you out as easily as they do in other countries.

You also think that this is why foreign women come here for sex work because the situation is better here? So they can create a better future for themselves?

Most foreign sex workers in Amsterdam’s Red Light District specifically come from Eastern European countries, Africa and Latin America. But sex workers from Africa or Latin America cannot come to the Netherlands as easily as before. But yes, they come here to make a better future for themselves and sometimes for the rest of the family too. And you cannot blame them. I would do the same thing. Legally or illegal, we all want a better future for ourselves and for our children. If you can’t find that in your own country you try to find it in another country.

sex worker prostitution information center

Prostitution Information Center Amsterdam

In 1994 you founded the Prostitution Information Center (PIC). Did you also have many foreign women coming to your place with questions on how to become a sex worker? Is that correct and if so how did you help them?

In 1994 when I opened PIC, there was juste one other organisation for sex workers. Especially in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, PIC was the first and still the only place that everyone can visit and ask questions about sex work. So it was quite a special place then. I still think it’s still a special place today but especially in the 1990’s it was unique. Also for sex workers themselves and those who wanted to start working or quit working.

Or customers, tourists and people who wanted to start a brothel. It was before the internet. if someone wants to become a sex worker nowadays, he or she can just search on Google. One can find information on how to organise things, where to find a brothel or how to rent a room for example. It’s quite easy to find information about that. But in the beginning of the 1990’s it wasn’t that easy, so I had a lot of new sex workers that came to PIC for information.

Sex Worker Education and Advocacy

You also gave courses to help potential sex workers. What were the things that you told them and which you considered important?

You must understand that I was quite young when I started PIC. I was like 23, was a smart-ass and I was doing crazy stuff. Putting male sex workers behind the windows and all that. Stuff that I enjoyed. Doing at least 1 or 2 big projects a year and made a party out of that. Like a school for sex workers was one of those crazy ideas. Not crazy in a sense that you shouldn’t take it seriously. But I thought it was great to start with history lessons or to learn how to put on a condom with your mouth. We organised role playing with a fake customer who’s one of my friends. He was a pantomime actor that played a drunk or aggressive customer and then we’d all practise on how to deal with guys like that. It was a lot of fun, really a lot of fun. But at the same time I took it very seriously because when you start to do something like sex work you have to realise a couple of things in order to not get in trouble with your own sexuality. With different things in your life like family, friends and relationships because those are the things that make the work complicated.

Prostitution and sex trafficking
The Old Church Square in Amsterdam.

Sex work itself is about sex, that’s easy. We all know how to do that. What makes it difficult is how do you talk about this with your parents or what do you tell your children? Do you keep it a secret or not? First of all you have to make that choice and then you have to live with that choice. I mean at the moment that you decide that you keep it a secret you live a double life.

Living a double life isn’t easy. Those are things I still think people have to realise when they make a decision to do this profession. Some people can make that choice but there are also many people who don’t have that choice. In many countries they don’t have the option to make a conscious choice. When it’s a matter of life and death you cannot dwell on making conscious choices. You just have to make money.

How old were you when you told your parents that you were a sex worker?

Before I came to the Red Light District in Amsterdam I worked in a private sex house. And before that I worked in a strip club in Amsterdam. I was 15 back then. In that period of my life I was often stoned or drunk, or both (laughs). In those circumstances you do crazy things. At the moment that I decided to work in a strip club, I called my parents to very happily say that I finally found a job which was the most stupid thing to do.

amsterdam red light district must see
Amsterdam, Oudezijds Achterburgwal. 

I come from a very catholic family, so my parents did not appreciate it that I was working in the sex industry. They don’t see it as a common job. It was a foolish move of me. My parents were not happy with that at all. It was a big thing in the family. I did it anyway and broke off contact with them.

Later I started to do real sex work. My parents told me years later that in the time that I worked in the private sex house, there were rumours in the family, that I was working in a private house but my parents didn’t believe it. They found out later.

I was sick one day around a year after I had started doing sex work from using too much drugs. I used speed at the time. I called my parents if I could please come home for a while because I was very ill and needed rest. I had  bronchitis. In the time that I was recovering at my parents house, the owner of the brothel called my parents if I was feeling better. He called a couple of times. One day, my mother one day asked about why that guy is always calling.

I was so fed up with lying all the time that I just told her. My mother was very upset and I had to leave the house. She kept it a secret from my father for a while because she was afraid that he would completely lose his mind. She was right.

This is the problem for most sex workers. Being afraid of what the family might think of you.

Amsterdam Mariska Majoor
Mariska Majoor.

But they found out very early, around the age of 17?

Yes, and after that I told them that I would stop and never do it again. Then I moved to Amsterdam. I started working in the Red Light District and after that in a private sex house again. My parents found out about that years later when I started the Prostitution Information Center. That was actually the time that I became more open about it, but that was easy.

But why didn’t you tell it right away? What was the reason not to tell them about it again?

Because they were very upset. We human beings don’t want to upset our parents too much. There was also a time when I tried to improve the relation with my parents again. It was bad for a couple of years. I thought that it was easier to deal with my parents keeping sex work as a secret from them than the confrontation and the fight, the worries from them about this. You know I spoke to so many people about this; sex workers or people that want to start working as a sex worker that had to deal with this. Do you tell your parents or your other relatives and friends about this or not? And sometimes I think it’s easier to be open about things instead of living with this huge secret. And other times it’s better to keep it a secret when you deal with people that can simply not accept this and cannot deal with this. You know, people that are very religious or very scared of this type of work. There are people who will never understand. In those cases it’s better to keep it a secret, and to keep the contact good between you and your parents or whoever they are. Better than making them worried, feeling sad or frustrated or whatever.

So you were raised as a catholic?

My parents tried (laughs).

Do you think that your religious upbringing influenced you in making you decide to become a sex worker?

No, I was always curious. Curious and a bit of a bad girl when I was younger.

A rebel?

Yeah that’s a nice word! But also a thinker… I was raised in a small Dutch town and I found that quite boring so I kind of escaped from that. I think.

Mariska Majoor PIC

So you were looking for excitement and then you moved to Amsterdam?

First to Hilversum, because that was also quite exciting in the 80’s. Big drugs scene, coffeeshops. That’s why I skipped a lot of school. I was 12 when I started smoking joints, so it started a bit with that. The boys were more interesting than school. Sex was interesting for me as-well so I started experimenting a bit with that. And you meet people in a certain scene. You know you feel attracted to certain people and certain places where you go out as a teenager. And then things come on your path. That’s the same with everybody. The things that come on your path attract you or they don’t. All the excitement that came on my path I took it with both hands.

Did you finish high school?

No, I only did 1,5 years high school and then I dropped out and never went back.

Do you regret that?

Yes and no. I always felt a bit underdeveloped but at the same time I’m streetwise. I know a lot of people that are very highly educated but they haven’t done half of what I did or what I still do. Of course miss things, absolutely.

Right now I’m very interested in writing. I did write a couple of books but those weren’t big works of literature. I like writing, but what I miss (because of my short time at school) is word knowledge. That’s the reason why I sometimes say to myself: “You stupid fool! That is your lack of education.” But besides that, I do think schooling is important, I’m a mother and my daughter had to finish school. I always give myself as an example and bagged her to finish high school at a bit higher level than myself.

Did your daughter finish school? She’s now how old?

Yes, she did! She’s 22 now.

And is she studying now?

She did a year and a half on the photo academy and at the moment she’s working in the hospitality industry at a grand cafe. And she’s like her mother she wants to start her own business. And I’m very supportive in that, I think she’s the type for it!

Mariska Majoor Amsterdam

How did sex work change since you first got involved with it?

As I mentioned before. Sex work is sex work, it never changes. A blowjob is still a blow job! (laughs). I mean what you do in a room, the actual work. The way you deal with a client, all that is still the same. What has changed is all those things around it. Policies have changed and the way things look have changed a bit. In the time that I worked here in the windows there was still carpet on the wall and it was still dark and old with cockroaches.

Outside the brothel?

Yes, and nowadays the walls inside the brothel windows are covered in tiles, no carpet anymore, because it has to be hygienic, easy to clean. Policy wise a lot of things have changed.

Do you think it has become saver?

Not necessarily, we always had an interesting system here in the Netherlands. We had the so called policy of tolerance. I think sex work in The Netherlands was unsafe before they started that. But this policy of tolerance was something that almost grew naturally in say the last 50 years. Even before that for centuries Amsterdam had brothels and also in other big cities of the Netherlands. Sex work is only unsafe when its happening in the streets, in dark alleys or parts of the woods. Or parts of the city where there is nobody to watch you which is the case in many countries. In the last year that we did this book project I’ve been to places in Rumania, Hungary and France. Really dangerous places where you have to stand in the dark or you have to step into the car with a guy and you don’t know where he’s taking you. That’s dangerous. In The Netherlands this is not really the case. In the time that I worked we had officially illegal but tolerated brothels. Those places were pretty safe. The police was always around in the Red Light District and responding to the alarmbuttons that we already had at that time. We had our boyfriends, pimps, brothel owners or girls next door that would help out as well. It’s still the same these days but now it’s formally legal. In practice it is not all that different.

Amsterdam Red Light District Rules

And in the time that you worked here in the windows, was it also mandatory for sex workers to register at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce?

Nooo way! It was a lot easier in my time to work, you didn’t even have to show your passport. With the more responsible ones yes, but not all establishments. I wasn’t 18 when I started to work. In the time that I started to work here in the Red Light District I had vice police coming to my door once and I gave the name of one of my friends who wasn’t working on that day, and she had just turned 18, and the police told me to bring my passport next time. I of course said yes and that I would do that. But I never saw them again.

Prostitution decriminalization vs legalization

You just said that you started working in a strip club when you were 15. I guess the minimum age wasn’t 15 right?

No way, I wasn’t allowed to work there.

What was the minimum age back then?

It was 18. But that strip club was a bad place. In the back it was possible to have sex for money which ‘officially’ wasn’t allowed. And I left the place at the moment that the owner told me I was capable of doing that as well. That it was time for me to start doing that too. And then I ran away screaming; “I will never do that!” (laughs) but a couple of months later I started doing it. For a good reason! I needed money to buy a dog! (laughs.)

You bought a dog?

Yes, with the money I earned from two customers. A German shepherd, big love of my life.

You said you didn’t like sex work that much, but did you also have nice customers?

Oh absolutely! Like I mentioned before I was always interested in sex. Sex for me it was a nice game to play. It was not necessarily a thing that I only wanted to do with people who I’d have a relationship with or was in  love with. And that’s what I always try to explain to people.

You can do sex work if you can separate sex and love from each other. I don’t say that all people should deal with sexuality this way, it’s your own choice. But if you can make this separation being a sex worker isn’t that a difficult thing to do and it can also be pleasant of course. But if it’s your work you cannot be too critical with who you let in as a customer. You have to create an income so you also work with people you don’t necessarily feel something for or you feel an attraction towards.

De Wallen Netherlands

Of course you can make choices in this. If somebody is too aggressive for example, I don’t like aggression. I don’t like the macho type you know, the pumped up big guys so I would refuse a guy like that. I had no problem with working with older men, I was very young, but having customers of 60, 70 even 80, no problem. But it had nothing to do with my own pleasure. Just business. And sometimes you had somebody that you did feel attracted to or that was just a nice guy, that’s possible too. But for me one of the great things about that work, and especially the way I did it in the windows, that I prefer over working in clubs and private houses, is that you were completely independent. And it’s so easy to make choices you know, to refuse a guy or to set your own prices and to make your own business decisions. What you do with a customer and what you don’t do with someone, which is a lot harder to do in the clubs.

Window Brothels Amsterdam

And did you enjoy the flirting in the windows?

That’s a great thing, one of the greatest things of being a window worker. The whole flirting game is fantastic. It’s still nice to do, but I don’t feel as confident anymore about my body and myself as when I was younger. But if I’d still have this fantastic body I think I would still stand in the window for fun. I did workshops for a couple of years on window prostitution and that was one of the greatest things for me to do. People had no idea, they walk around in the district and see the girls in the windows and they think o my god they are standing there for the whole world to look at, but that’s the fun! People have to understand that that’s the fun.

So one of the positive things about being a window sex worker is the flirting, the game, the excitement?

Yeah, as long as this is something that you choose to do, of course. I don’t want to burn my hands on percentages, I leave that stuff up to other people, that’s not my thing anymore. But I know for sure, I can guarantee, that most of the people that work in the windows in the Red Light District choose this profession themselves. It can sometimes be a very boring job but overall standing in the window is fun. It’s about flirting. You know when you stand there you have such a good look on the street and you can easily see already from a distance who’s a potential customer and who’s only walking around and only having a look. So you focus on the people who you think might be a customer. That’s the one you focus on, the rest disappear. And then playing the game with that person is half of the job. You make them come to the window, you negotiate at the door about the prices, times and things that he wants to do. That’s also fun.

Prostitution in Amsterdam facts

Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

There are many people that can’t believe that the women standing in windows are standing there on their own free will. What do you think of that?

That’s a very tiring and frustrating thing. People are very judgemental. They create an opinion usually based on two thing: what they hear the most in the media for example, and how they personally feel about the subject. Prostitution is about sex and sex is a complicated topic for people, still. We don’t live in the Middle Ages anymore but people still find it hard to believe that you can have sex for fun and sex for money. People cannot see themselves doing this so they project that onto others. It makes me very angry. I can get very pissed off when I see people doing that: project their own ideas and opinions on people around them. Even worse is when they don’t believe the actual people that they speak about. So when I say I work as a sex worker and I enjoy it they don’t believe it because they can’t see themselves doing it. I always find that difficult to deal with.

At the same time I understand where it’s coming from. Human trafficking, forced labour, all that is an issue in the whole world. But the mistake that people make is that they focus a lot on prostitution in this whilst human trafficking and forced labour are happening in many sectors of the economy. But when it’s about sex it’s worse for people somehow. I think that’s not fair and people analyse this the wrong way. They exaggerate a lot too. They also use it a lot as an excuse to simply discourage sex work in general. Worldwide there’s a huge lobby against prostitution that is coming from religious people and feminists who are against sex work. They join hands these days, they’ve found each-other in this battle against prostitution. Using human trafficking as an excuse whilst they both have different reasons to fight prostitution. Christian morals and feminist ideas, they both see sex work as a morally wrong thing that should not exist. I don’t like the way they fight against it. I think it’s very unfair, they refuse to listen to sex workers. They refuse to use the words sex work. They think sex can never be work and that they should fight against it and totally ignore the voice of sex workers worldwide on this, they only want to speak about human trafficking because that’s how they view sex work.

To be able to understand where I’m coming from, where my activism is coming from, you have to start separating human trafficking from sex work. They are not the same but two completely different subjects.

amsterdam red light district interview

Amsterdam Red Light District Area

Some people find the Red Light District outdated and feel that it no longer belongs to this time. What do you think of this position?

I think there’s only one group who can decide that and that is the sex industry itself. If it’s really true that the age of window prostitution is over, it’s up to the window sex workers to decide that. If they no longer want to stand in a window they will leave. They’ll stop renting the windows and then we could say that. But this isn’t really the case at the moment. There are still a lot of people interested in window prostitution. Because it’s a legal profession in the Netherlands they deserve the right to work in a window brothel. It’s a legal way of making a living.

The fact that you see a lot of empty window brothels during the daytime is used in this discussion, but that’s not really fair because what’s been happening in Amsterdam’s Red Light District in the last couple of years is that window sex work is being discouraged, and because of tourism. Tourists are making photographs of the sex workers and the Project 1012 gentrification project for the area, those scared away a lot of the sex workers. There are a few things happening at the moment.

I believe that we do not have empty window brothels during the day because of less interest in prostitution.

Window Prostitution

amsterdam red light district latest news

Some people find window prostitution disrespectful. What do you think of that?

A mistake! Window prostitution is not disrespectful but the way that people act towards window prostitutes is sometimes disrespectful. Again, in the whole discussion about the future of window prostitution in the Red Light District I think people approach it from the wrong perspective. They speak about closing down the windows to protect the women because visitors aren’t always respectful towards them. Then I think, hello guys! This is a strange approach. If you think that you have to protect sex workers from people that are disrespectful then don’t take away their work places and educate people that work around the Red Light District.

I hate it too, when I see people having a big mouth towards the sex workers in the windows or people taking pictures without asking the sex workers. But then someone should talk to those people instead of telling the sex workers to leave because people are being disrespectful towards them. That’s stupid!

Amsterdam Mayor Red Light District

Have you heard of the four scenarios that the mayor of Amsterdam created? One of them is to close the curtains of window brothels and make the sex workers work behind the curtains so that the people on the streets don’t see them anymore. I find this scenario quite strange.

The mayor wants to do something good for sex workers. The mayor wants people to have more respect for the sex workers. She proposed a scenario that sex workers won’t be longer visible from the streets. I am against the closure of windows, but I appreciate that the mayor pays attention to the human rights of sex workers.

I think it’s more important to inform visitors of Amsterdam’s Red Light District how to behave towards sex workers in the windows.

De Wallen

Amsterdam Red Light District Tours

Nowadays it’s mandatory for tour guides to inform their guests that it’s not allowed to take pictures of sex workers. Do you think that tour guides should be around in the Red Light District to inform tourists?

I think that tour guides have a very important role to play in educating the visitors of Amsterdam’s Red Light District! People who join Red Light District tours have no idea or completely wrong ideas about sex work. But after doing a Red Light District tour with a good guide someones opinion can really be changed. This has benefits for sex workers because they get more respect in the end. That’s why I always gave tours myself and I think the same reason applies to all tour guides. They really have an important role to play.

Tourists should be told not to film or photograph the sex workers. One must behave. Don’t stare. Be respectful to the sex workers. Don’t look at them like a monkey in the zoo. That is not the way to do it.

I think it would be good idea to experiment a little bit more in the Red Light District. Sex workers need choices on where and how to work. Some don’t care, even with being photographed. But most do care.

Sex Worker Amsterdam Red Light District

Nordic Model For Prostitution

In certain countries like Sweden it’s legal to be a sex worker but illegal to visit a sex worker. What do you think of the Nordic model approach to prostitution? 

Mariska: A big mistake. A very big mistake! I’ve seen in countries like France what that is doing, the harm that it’s doing to sex workers. It’s such a stupid idea and proof for me that the people who come up with these ideas are not interested in sex workers safety or rights. Governments and countries that are in favour of the Swedish/Nordic model simply do this to discourage prostitution with the hope of banning it completely from their countries. They say that they’re doing it for the sex workers but I don’t believe that at all. It’s very clear what this law is actually doing to sex workers. It’s forcing them to work in very dangerous circumstances. It discourages sex work in a way but in practice sex workers continue with their job legally. It will only make them more protective of their customers so more willing to work in circumstances that protect their customers. Those places are often the streets, the woods, illegal brothels or home based prostitution. Where there is no control or help if anything goes wrong. What I also see happening is that the good customer, the well paying customer gets afraid to visit a sex worker. You lose the good guys as customers. The people that don’t care will continue to go and those are usually the customers that are higher risk, and have less money.

Decriminalization Prostitution

Would you like to see sex work being decriminalised all over the world?

Decriminalising sex work is number one! I also want sex work to be more seen as a normal job by society in general. In the Netherlands for instance I think a lot people do not realise how -not- tolerant they are. Perhaps more tolerant than in other countries, but what’s interesting in the Netherlands is that people are tolerant towards prostitution as long it’s not to close to them.

We noticed that with this campaign that we did with posters stating “Sex work = work.” A lot of people said; “Oh yes, it’s work it is what some people choose, that is fine by me.” But if you ask them: imagine that your own daughter, cousin or mother chooses becomes a sex worker, then people suddenly get scared.

So from a distance it’s fine. Just the same with Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Dutch people come to get entertained in the area but in their own hometown if someone wants to open a brothel next door, then people say ‘no way’!

sex work is work movement Amsterdam
Sex workers campaigning in Amsterdam. 

Sex Education in Schools

Do you think that sex work should be discussed at schools (in the Netherlands)?

This topic should definitely be discussed in high school. You don’t have to start early. I don’t like groups of young school children in the ages of 9, 10 and 11 walking around the Red Light District area.

But in high school you can absolutely explain sex work. And one can explain it in combination with other things, like sexuality or poverty for instance.

What are you doing nowadays?

Mariska: I launched my own website: MyAmsterdamStories.com which is like hobby and a learning process. I like writing but I’m not good, but want to be good! So for me it’s like practising. So I write short stories about Amsterdam. About Tamara, a window prostitute in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, which is based on my own experiences. I write a little bit about the Red Light District but also about the woods. Every weekend I’m at the Veluwe in the Dutch woods.

I write a little bit about things that I see in the Netherlands. The birds, the trees, being homeless in Amsterdam, etc. I was homeless myself for a short while when I was younger, so I feel attracted to that part of life as well. So I visit homeless organisations to speak to people for inspiration and I want to write little pieces about that subject.

For next year, I plan the write a book about being homeless in Amsterdam. Writing is a hobby, I would really love for people to follow me on Instagram and MyAmsterdamStories.com. Please read my short stories and let me know what you think. I would like develop as a writer.

Amsterdam Cookies

Amsterdam cookies best
Mariska’s cookies.

I also have another website where I offer real Amsterdam cookies. Artisan freshly baked butter cookies with lemon zest and vanilla for an affordable price. And, the logo of Amsterdam is part of the cookie too. A part of the profit even goes to the homeless in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Red Light District Book

best sex worker books
Mariska’s daughter at the printing house.

In addition, I also made a Dutch book about the Amsterdam Red Light District, which will be released on May 6, 2020. It is called ‘De Wallen, toekomst van ons verleden’. Translated: The Red Light District, future of our part.

Amsterdam Audio Walking Tour

Amsterdam Audio Tours Sex Workers

Mariska Majoor is one of the 22 experts who are part of our app Amsterdam Audio Tours. It offers very interesting stories of the Red Light District which you can listen to in the area, or from home as a podcast. In this app, police officers, prostitutes, historians, sexologists, local entrepreneurs, drug consultants, residents, sociologists share their expertise.



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2 Responses to Former Amsterdam Sex Worker Interview

  1. Steven Moretz schreef:

    Ms. Majoor: i admire your free spirit and willingness to stand fast against what can arguably be called progress. Having said so, then id also like to tell you youre one of my kind, without you the world would be so bland and tasteless i dont know if mankind would thrive.
    With Special Love,
    Steven Moretz
    Las Vegas, NV USA

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