Exploring Red Light Districts in Amsterdam: A Comprehensive Guide

Amsterdam is a vibrant city known for its rich culture, beautiful canals, and unique attractions. One aspect that often piques visitors’ curiosity is its renowned Red Light Districts. In this guide, we will explore where you can find the red light districts in Amsterdam and provide some valuable insights for those who want to learn more about this intriguing part of the city.

What are Red Light Districts?

Red Light Districts are areas in certain cities, including Amsterdam, where prostitution is legalized and regulated. These districts are designated zones where sex workers can legally offer their services within specific regulations. In Amsterdam, the most well-known red light district is De Wallen, but there are other notable areas to explore as well.

De Wallen – Amsterdam’s Most Famous Red Light District

De Wallen, also known as the “Rosse Buurt,” is Amsterdam’s oldest and most famous red light district. Located in the city center, it is distinguished by its narrow streets, historic buildings, and glowing red-lit windows. This district attracts millions of visitors each year, not only for its adult establishments but also for its lively nightlife and unique atmosphere.

Within De Wallen, the main street is called Oudezijds Voorburgwal, where you can find a multitude of brothels, adult theaters, and coffee shops. As you meander through the area, you’ll notice the red-lit windows, which signify that the rooms behind them are occupied by sex workers.

Exploring De Wallen Responsibly

While De Wallen can be an interesting area to explore, it’s essential to be respectful and mindful of the people who live and work there. Here are some tips for visiting De Wallen responsibly:

  • Refrain from taking photographs of the sex workers. This is strictly prohibited and disrespectful.
  • Do not touch or proposition the sex workers. They have the right to refuse service.
  • Be considerate of the local residents by keeping noise levels down and avoiding littering.
  • Remember that these areas are workspaces for the sex workers, so be aware of personal boundaries.

Other Red Light Districts in Amsterdam

While De Wallen is the most famous, there are other red light districts in Amsterdam worth exploring if you wish to gain a broader perspective. These areas offer their unique charm and experiences:

1. Singelgebied

Singelgebied is another well-known red light district located near the Singel canal. This area is more intimate and quieter than De Wallen, with a smaller number of windows. It is often frequented by locals and those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere.

2. Ruysdaelkade

Ruysdaelkade is a red light district situated in the De Pijp neighborhood. Here, you’ll find a diverse range of sex workers from various backgrounds. The district blends into the lively ambiance of De Pijp, known for its trendy bars, restaurants, and the famous Albert Cuyp Market.

3. De Pijp’s Hidden Corners

De Pijp, although not a dedicated red light district, has several hidden corners where prostitution takes place. Exploring this hip neighborhood might lead you to unexpected encounters if you keep an open eye.

Safety Considerations

It’s vital to keep safety in mind while exploring red light districts in Amsterdam. Here are some general safety tips:

  • Stick to well-lit, populated areas and avoid dimly lit streets or alleys.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of pickpockets.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol or drug consumption, as it impairs judgment and increases vulnerability.
  • If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, trust your instincts and leave the area.


Amsterdam’s red light districts offer a glimpse into a unique aspect of the city’s culture. While De Wallen is the most famous, exploring other areas can provide a more comprehensive understanding. Remember always to be respectful, follow local regulations, and prioritize your personal safety. By embracing an open-minded attitude, you can explore these districts responsibly and gain a deeper appreciation for Amsterdam’s diverse character.





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