The red lights district in Amsterdam, Source: Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Amsterdam moves red district away from the city centre

Amsterdam moves red district away from the city centre

As part of a larger effort to transform the tourist image of the city

Local authorities in Amsterdam are considering a major transformation of the city centre, aiming for a more sustainable tourism flow and a higher quality of life for residents. Part of the planned reset are changes to the red district, which will soon find its place elsewhere in the Dutch capital.

Making Amsterdam’s centre more liveable and attractive

A 2019 proposal by Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema and local pressure and political groups to close most brothel windows in the city centre will finally come to fruition. As The Guardian reported, the majority of city councillors have agreed last week to close a great number of the sex windows in De Wallen, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods.

According to the tourist website of Amsterdam, at least three hundred one-room cabins were rented by prostitutes in the central district, who advertise their services in red-lit windows. For over two centuries of legalised prostitution in the city (since 1811), the area has become a popular tourist destination due to this.

Now, this is about to change as the women will be offered to move their businesses away from the alleys around the docks, in a new centre, built for the purpose. Its location was not made clear, but it is expected to be far from the city centre, in line with the wish of the authorities to attract tourists for the right reasons, namely the rich history, architecture and cultural offer of Amsterdam and De Wallen in particular.

Prostitution and protecting worker’s safety, however, are far from the only concerns when it comes to Amsterdam’s tourist flow and nightlife – this is what the 80-points plan for inner city transformation, submitted by Halsema suggests. The city’s famous coffee shops, where cannabis is sold and consumed, have also raised her concerns a while ago.

A proposal to ban tourists (but not residents) from buying the legal drug substance from such places, however, has not attracted sufficient support from councillors, for fear that such a move will create the conditions for illegal deals on the street. During the online council meeting on Thursday, Halsema promised to further investigate whether this is truly the most likely outcome.

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