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Red Light DistrictAmsterdam

For at least 600 years, locals, sailors and travelers have come to this part of Amsterdam for adult entertainment in the many bars, brothels and eateries.

Amsterdam’s historic Red Light District is called De Wallen (embankments), four of which make up this neighborhood. Visitors are often surprised to see that during the day De Wallen looks much like the rest of the inner city with cobblestone streets, narrow gabled houses and cozy cafés. Both the red lights and women displayed in windows become visible after dark. Go with an open mind if you are curious about this notorious adult entertainment district between Dam Square and China Town.

Sailors from all over the world have flocked to De Wallen since the early 1400s and these days prostitution is a legalized industry in Holland. The Dutch policy of “if you decriminalize it, you can make it safer” is also true for marijuana and hashish, which are sold in small quantities in the local coffee shops and bars.

The Red Light District is dominated by the 13th-century Old Church (Oude Kerk), one of Amsterdam’s earliest stone buildings. Step inside to see impressive decorations. Check out the statue of Belle outside, depicting a prostitute in a doorway, with a sign asking to “respect sex workers all over the world.”

While locals walk through De Wallen as if it’s just like any other neighborhood, most tourists can’t help gaping at the narrow windows displaying sparsely dressed women under red lights. Hundreds of women of many different nationalities try to sell their services by winking and gesturing at passers-by. Adult shops, sex museums and neon-lit erotic shows draw in curious — sometimes giggling — groups of sightseers. Be aware that these shows leave nothing to the imagination.

To get to the Red Light District, either walk from Central Station or Dam Square. De Wallen is a well-policed area, safer than some other parts of the city. Even still, pickpockets, beggers and drug addicts sometimes target unaware tourists. Be aware that it’s considered offensive to take photographs of the windows with prostitutes. To avoid confrontation, only point your camera at the general action on the streets and the buildings, instead of specific people, to capture the atmosphere.


Popular places to visit in Red Light District

National Monument
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National Monument

4.5/5(14 reviews)

Once a camping spot for hippies, the huge monument in Dam Square commemorating those who have fallen in war is now Amsterdam’s center of the annual Remembrance Day.

Amsterdam Chinatown
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Amsterdam Chinatown

Enjoy an outing to Amsterdam Chinatown during your stay in Amsterdam. Discover the acclaimed art scene in this vibrant area, or seek out the biking trails.

Rokin
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Rokin

You can learn about the history of Amsterdam with a stop at Rokin. Experience the acclaimed art scene and great live music in this vibrant area.

Nes
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Nes

4/5(274 reviews)

Learn about the local history of Amsterdam when you take a trip to Nes. While in this walkable area, you can savor the top-notch restaurants.

Nieuwmarkt Square
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Nieuwmarkt Square

4.5/5(26 reviews)

A center for trading and socializing in the Dutch Golden Age, this square has much the same purpose today with its daily market, cafés and restaurants.

The Old Church
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The Old Church

4/5(219 reviews)

Check out some contemporary art, enjoy a concert and admire the architecture and decoration in Amsterdam’s oldest building.

Top things to do in Red Light District

I amsterdam City Card
Image for I amsterdam City Card

I amsterdam City Card

$74
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Blue Boat Company Evening Cruise
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Blue Boat Company Evening Cruise

$22
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Van Gogh Museum Tickets
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Van Gogh Museum Tickets

$24
Per adult
88% of travellers recommend
Heineken Experience Admission Ticket
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Heineken Experience Admission Ticket

$20
Per adult
88% of travellers recommend
Guided Small-Group Tour to Zaanse Schans Windmills
Image for Guided Small-Group Tour to Zaanse Schans Windmills

Guided Small-Group Tour to Zaanse Schans Windmills

$45
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Amsterdam: Brothel Tour with Sex Worker Guide
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Amsterdam: Brothel Tour with Sex Worker Guide

$23
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend

Top Hotels in Red Light District

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace
NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace
5 out of 5
Prins Hendrikkade 59-72, Amsterdam
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $154 per night from Sep 30 to Oct 1

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Amsterdam Chinatown, Dam Square, and Madame Tussauds. Body Worlds and National ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,208 reviews)

"Staffs and surrounding are excellent. Good location to move around."…"

Reviewed on Mar 10, 2020

NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace
NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
5 out of 5
Dam 9, Amsterdam
The price is $186 per night from Oct 1 to Oct 2

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Flower Market and Anne Frank House. Artis and Heineken Experience are also ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,832 reviews)

"The hotel is in a great location, and it was spotlessly clean. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Very good amenities"…"

Reviewed on Aug 17, 2020

NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
Hotel V Nesplein
Hotel V Nesplein
4 out of 5
Nes 49, Amsterdam
The price is $106 per night from Oct 5 to Oct 6

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is steps from Nes and Amsterdam Dungeon. Madame Tussauds and Dam Square are also within 5 minutes. Dam Stop and ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (255 reviews)

"Very nice hotel in a perfect location. The decoration is superb and the staff lovely. I will definitely return!"…"

Reviewed on Sep 21, 2020

Hotel V Nesplein
Mauro Mansion
Mauro Mansion
3.5 out of 5
16 Geldersekade, Amsterdam, NH
The price is $96 per night from Oct 1 to Oct 2

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Amsterdam Chinatown, Body Worlds, and Rembrandt House Museum. Dam Square and Madame ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (49 reviews)

"מלון בוטיק. מעוצב צוות מסביר פנים מיקום נהדר ארוחת בוקר נחמדה אמבטיה גדולה"…"

Reviewed on Feb 24, 2020

Mauro Mansion
Hotel Mai Amsterdam
Hotel Mai Amsterdam
4 out of 5
30 Geldersekade, Amsterdam, NH
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $64 per night from Sep 30 to Oct 1

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Amsterdam Chinatown, Body Worlds, and Rembrandt House Museum. Dam Square and Madame ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (90 reviews)

"Very clean, beautifully presented hotel with friendly staff"…"

Reviewed on Aug 16, 2020

Hotel Mai Amsterdam
St. Christopher's at The Winston
St. Christopher's at The Winston
2 out of 5
Warmoesstraat 129, Amsterdam
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $41 per night from Sep 30 to Oct 1

Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hostel is within a 5-minute walk of Body Worlds, Dam Square, and Madame Tussauds. Royal Palace and Amsterdam Museum are ...

3.7/5Good! (279 reviews)

"Great location !! Friendly and helpful staff!"…"

Reviewed on Mar 3, 2020

St. Christopher's at The Winston

Other neighborhoods in Amsterdam

Dam Square which includes heritage architecture, street scenes and a city

Old Town

Known for its fascinating museums, popular shops, and acclaimed art galleries, there's plenty to explore in Old Town. Top attractions like Madame Tussauds and Dam Square are major draws. Catch the metro at Nieuwmarkt Station or Dam Stop to see more of the city.

Old Town
Flower Market featuring a river or creek, markets and a city

Amsterdam City Centre

4.5/5Wonderful!(2,270 area reviews)

Madame Tussauds and Dam Square are a few top attractions in Amsterdam City Centre. Hop around the city on the metro at Nieuwmarkt Station or Waterlooplein Station and check out the area's fascinating museums, charming cafés, and popular shops.

Amsterdam City Centre
Amsterdam which includes a river or creek, boating and a city

Canal Ring

4.5/5Wonderful!(1,372 area reviews)

Known for its fascinating museums and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Canal Ring. Check out top attractions like Flower Market and Rembrandt Square, and jump on the metro at Rembrandtplein Stop or Koningsplein Stop to see more of the city.

Canal Ring
Amsterdam

Jordaan

Jordaan is well-liked for its breweries and churches. If you're hoping to get in some sightseeing, The 9 Streets and Electric Ladyland are top spots, and you can jump on the metro at Bloemgracht Stop or Marnixplein Stop to get around.

Jordaan
Dutch Resistance Museum featuring signage

Plantage

4.5/5Wonderful!(69 area reviews)

Spend some time visiting places like Artis while getting to know Plantage, and be sure to check out the abundant dining options. You can hop aboard the metro at Plantage Lepellaan Stop or Artis Stop to see more of the area.

Plantage
Haarlemmerbuurt, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Haarlemmerbuurt

4/5Very Good!(7 area reviews)

Travelers choose Haarlemmerbuurt for its great bars. Hop aboard the metro at Haarlemmerplein Stop or Zoutkeetsgracht Stop and check out top sights like Herengracht Canal.

Haarlemmerbuurt

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Red Light District

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