What to See in the Red Light District Amsterdam


Welcome to our guide on what to see in the Red Light District of Amsterdam! Whether you are curious or planning a visit, this article will help you navigate through this vibrant and historic neighborhood while respecting its unique cultural significance.

History and Culture

The Red Light District, also known as De Wallen, is one of Amsterdam’s oldest neighborhoods. Its narrow streets are lined with 17th-century buildings and intersected by picturesque canals. The area is famous for its legalized prostitution and cannabis coffee shops, but there’s much more to explore!

Take a moment to appreciate the rich history and cultural heritage of this district by visiting the following:

  • The Oude Kerk: This medieval church is the oldest in Amsterdam and a must-visit landmark. Its stunning architecture and historical significance make it a fascinating stop.
  • The Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder: This hidden church is located inside a typical Dutch house. It offers a glimpse into the clandestine religious practices during a time of religious suppression.

A Unique Atmosphere

The Red Light District is known for its vibrant and lively atmosphere, especially in the evenings. Some key places to experience the district’s unique vibe include:

  • Nieuwmarkt Square: This lively square is a social hub, surrounded by bars, cafes, and restaurants. Take a seat with a drink and soak in the atmosphere.
  • Zeedijk Street: Explore this lively street filled with ethnic restaurants, bars, and music venues. It offers a diverse range of culinary delights.

Remember to be respectful of the residents and businesses in the area. Keep in mind that photography is strictly prohibited in certain zones, so always be mindful of your surroundings and follow the local rules.

Coffee Shops and Cannabis

The Red Light District is also famous for its cannabis coffee shops. If you are interested in this aspect of Amsterdam’s culture, here are a couple of notable spots:

  • The Bulldog: The Bulldog is an iconic coffee shop with multiple locations in the city. Its flagship location in the Red Light District is a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
  • Greenhouse Namaste: This coffee shop is known for its high-quality cannabis products and cozy atmosphere. It has won several awards for its strains.

Remember to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations regarding cannabis consumption, especially if it is your first time.

Shopping and Souvenirs

As you explore the Red Light District, you’ll find numerous shops offering unique products and souvenirs. Some popular items include:

  • Dutch Cheese: Visit a local cheese shop and indulge in some traditional Dutch cheese tasting. Be sure to try Gouda and Edam!
  • Tulip Bulbs: Take home a piece of Dutch culture by purchasing tulip bulbs, a symbol of the Netherlands. They are a perfect souvenir for nature lovers.
  • Erotic Stores: The district is also home to various adult stores. If this piques your interest, take a stroll and explore these shops for an open-minded experience.

Always validate the quality and authenticity of any product you purchase, and be aware of any restrictions or customs regulations when taking items back home.

Safety and Etiquette

When visiting the Red Light District, it is essential to prioritize your safety and be respectful of the local community. Here are some tips:

  • Stay in well-lit and busy areas, particularly at night.
  • Avoid taking pictures of the windows, sex workers, or any illegal activities.
  • Refrain from touching or harassing anyone; consent and personal boundaries are crucial.
  • Be cautious of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas.
  • Do not buy or use drugs from street dealers, as this is illegal and dangerous.

By following these guidelines and respecting the local culture, you can have an enjoyable and responsible visit to the Red Light District.


A visit to the Red Light District of Amsterdam can be a unique and eye-opening experience. Beyond the initial reputation, the district is filled with historical landmarks, cultural treasures, and a vibrant atmosphere. By respecting the local culture, being mindful of your actions, and embracing the diversity of the area, you can create memorable and meaningful experiences during your visit.

Remember to always prioritize your safety, follow local rules and regulations, and approach the district with an open mind. Enjoy your time exploring the Red Light District and all it has to offer!





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