Exploring the 3 Red Light Districts in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is known for its unique culture and liberal attitude towards various aspects of life. One aspect that attracts curious visitors from around the world are its famous red light districts. In this article, we will explore the three most prominent red light districts in Amsterdam – De Wallen, Singelgebied, and Ruysdaelkade.

1. De Wallen

De Wallen, also known as the “Rosse Buurt” (red neighborhood), is Amsterdam’s oldest and most famous red light district. Located within the city center, this area is home to numerous brothels, sex shops, and adult entertainment establishments. It’s an intriguing mix of history and hedonism, offering a glimpse into Amsterdam’s unique culture.

One of the key attractions in De Wallen is the iconic red-lit windows where sex workers openly display themselves. It’s important to remember that these individuals work in a regulated environment and their rights are protected.

Things to Do in De Wallen:

  • Visit the Prostitution Information Center to learn about the industry and its history
  • Explore the narrow streets and canal-side alleys, known as “gangen”
  • Marvel at the architecture of the Oude Kerk (Old Church), Amsterdam’s oldest building
  • Indulge in local cuisine at the numerous bars and restaurants in the area

2. Singelgebied

Singelgebied, also referred to as the “Sunnypart of the Red Light District,” is a relatively smaller and more laid-back area compared to De Wallen. It is located near the Singel canal, known for its picturesque views and charming atmosphere.

Singelgebied is popular among visitors who prefer a less crowded experience while still enjoying the unique offerings of a red light district. Here, you can find a variety of adult-oriented establishments, including brothels and erotic shops.

Things to Do in Singelgebied:

  • Take a leisurely stroll along the Singel canal and enjoy the scenic beauty
  • Visit the Museum of Prostitution to gain insights into the lives of sex workers
  • Explore the local cafes and coffee shops for a relaxing break
  • Experience the lively nightlife in cozy bars and pubs

3. Ruysdaelkade

Ruysdaelkade, located in the upscale De Pijp neighborhood, offers a unique twist to the traditional red light district experience. While it may not have the same historical appeal as De Wallen, it is known for its discreet and more private establishments.

Ruysdaelkade is frequented by locals and tourists seeking a more intimate and personalized encounter. The area is dotted with discreet entrances leading to apartments where sex workers provide their services.

Things to Do in Ruysdaelkade:

  • Explore the vibrant Albert Cuyp Market, famous for its diverse food and goods
  • Visit the nearby Heineken Experience and learn about the famous Dutch beer
  • Enjoy a picnic or leisurely walk in the beautiful Sarphatipark

Final Thoughts

Amsterdam’s red light districts offer a unique and culturally significant experience. Whether you are curious about the history, interested in exploring the local nightlife, or simply want to immerse yourself in the city’s diverse culture, these districts provide a glimpse into a world that exists alongside Amsterdam’s other attractions. It’s essential to approach these areas with respect and a willingness to learn, appreciating the rights and choices of individuals who work within the industry.


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