Skift Take

Moving the window brothels out of the Red Light District would be a big step in discouraging party behavior in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam city officials are trying to push tourists away from the city center’s Red Light District.

In a letter this week to the city council, Mayor Femke Halsema proposed opening a multi-story complex called an “Erotic Centre” in Europaboulevard outside the city center. The new complex would have 100 brothels and 100 would close in the Red Light District. About 100 window brothels would remain in their current location.

“The total number of permits workplaces in Amsterdam should remain the same,” wrote Halsema. “This will result in the closure of workplaces (windows) in time to coincide as much as possible with the opening of the [Erotic Centre].”

The Erotic Centre’s window brothels would only be visible from the inside of the building — unlike today, where passersby can see sex workers through windows facing onto the streets.

Officials chose Europaboulevard for being a “strong, socially resilient neighborhood” outside the city center that’s also accessible to public transportation.

The Red Light District attracts many party tourists, contributing to overtourism. Many locals consider these tourists a nuisance because of their reckless behavior and overcrowding. One local told Skift in March quality of life in the city has diminished.

The city council will debate the proposed location in the coming months, according to the Amsterdam government. If approved, it would take 7 years to build the Erotic Centre.

Uproar Against the New Location for Red Light District Tourism

Some of the neighbors at the proposed location in Europaboulevard are not happy. 

The Erotic Centre would be located a third of a mile (500 meters) from the European Medicines Agency. The European Union agency told the EU Observer it was “upset” with the new location. 

However, others support the move, with 13 entrepreneurs saying they would be interested in bidding to build and run the center, according to the Amsterdam government.

Amsterdam Wants Fewer Party Tourists

The mayor has been trying to reshape the city’s image as a party destination. In May, the city banned publicly smoking of marijuana in the Red Light District.

In March, the city government launched an advertising campaign called “Stay Away.” It aimed to discourage male partiers from the UK between the ages of 18 and 35. The campaign, however, failed to make a lasting impression on this group, the mayor said in a letter to the city council.

Red Light District Tourism: Data 

Nearly a fifth of all Amsterdam’s tourists in 2022 spent time in the Red Light District, according to amsterdam&partners:

  • 17% of all Amsterdam’s tourists visit the Red Light District.
  • Red Light District visitors stay four nights, on average.
  • The average visitor to the district spends about $200 (€182).

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Tags: amsterdam, netherlands, overtourism, tourism

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