Does Amsterdam Have a Red Light District?

If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam or simply curious about the city’s famous attractions, one question that may come to mind is whether Amsterdam has a Red Light District. The answer is a resounding yes. Amsterdam is known for its vibrant and unique Red Light District, which attracts visitors from around the world.

What is a Red Light District?

A Red Light District is an area in a city where prostitution and other adult entertainment activities are concentrated. These districts are usually characterized by their red-lit windows, where sex workers openly display themselves to potential customers. Amsterdam’s Red Light District is one of the most famous and well-known in the world.

Location of the Red Light District in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s Red Light District, locally known as “De Wallen,” is conveniently located in the city center near the Central Station. It is situated in the old part of Amsterdam and is easily accessible by foot or public transportation. The district covers several streets, including the well-known Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Oudezijds Voorburgwal, and Warmoesstraat.

What Can You Expect in the Red Light District?

When you visit Amsterdam’s Red Light District, expect a unique and lively atmosphere. Along the streets, you will see small window-fronted rooms where sex workers, often referred to as “window girls,” present themselves. These windows are typically illuminated with red lights, hence the district’s name.

It’s important to note that the Red Light District is not just about prostitution. The area also hosts a variety of adult entertainment venues, including shops selling sex-related items, peep shows, and sex theaters. Additionally, you’ll find a range of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.

How to Interact and Behave in the Red Light District?

When visiting the Red Light District, it’s essential to remember that sex work is legal and regulated in the Netherlands. However, it’s equally important to treat sex workers with respect and dignity. Do not take photos or videos of the sex workers in the windows, as this is strictly prohibited and disrespectful.

In terms of personal safety, it’s advised to stay aware of your surroundings, especially late at night. While the district is generally safe, it’s always a good idea to remain cautious and vigilant.

Other Points of Interest Around the Red Light District

While exploring the Red Light District, you’ll find several other attractions worth visiting nearby. Some of these include:

  • The Oude Kerk

    The Oude Kerk, or Old Church, is Amsterdam’s oldest building dating back to the 13th century. It’s an impressive Gothic church located in the heart of the Red Light District.

  • The Amsterdam Museum

    Located just a short walk from the Red Light District, the Amsterdam Museum provides insights into the city’s rich history and culture.

  • Chinatown

    Amsterdam’s Chinatown is also located nearby, offering a wide range of Chinese restaurants, supermarkets, and cultural experiences.

  • Coffee Shops

    For those interested in exploring Amsterdam’s famous coffee shop culture, the Red Light District is a great starting point. However, it’s important to note that coffee shops primarily serve cannabis products, and the consumption of these products is subject to the Dutch laws and regulations.


Amsterdam’s Red Light District is undoubtedly an intriguing and unique area to explore. It offers a glimpse into a legalized and regulated sex industry, as well as the city’s vibrant nightlife. However, it’s crucial to approach the district with respect and cultural sensitivity. By doing so, you can have an enjoyable and enlightening experience in this fascinating part of Amsterdam.





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