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Red Light District, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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.


Guide to Exploring around Red Light District


Map

Lodging Near Red Light District

See all 821 Hotels near Red Light District
Hotel Internationaal

Hotel Internationaal

Warmoesstraat 1-3, Amsterdam
3.6
of 5, from 41 reviews
1.0 out of 5.0

Located in Oude Centrum, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Sexmuseum and The Old Church. Dam Square and New Church are also within 10 minutes.

XO HOTELS CITY CENTRE former Tulip Inn Amsterdam Centre

XO HOTELS CITY CENTRE former Tulip Inn Amsterdam Centre

Beursstraat 11 - 19, Amsterdam
3.4
of 5, from 464 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This city-center hotel is a 3-minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal Station. Dam Square, Nieuwe Kerk, and the Royal Palace are among the many popular destinations within 0.4 km (0.3 mi).

$224
Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam

Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam

Prins Hendrikkade 108, Amsterdam
4.4
of 5, from 2,352 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This hotel, built in 1912, is located in the monumental Scheepvaarthuis and adjacent to the harbour. Nieuwmarkt Square and the Public Library are nearby and Central Station is 500 meters away.

$191
Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre

Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Centre

Nieuwezijds Kolk 19, Amsterdam
4.3
of 5, from 2,804 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Bordered by a warren of narrow streets lined with pubs, cafés, and restaurants, this hotel faces a small square, and is 400 metres from the central train station. Dam Square, Royal Palace, and Nieuwe Kerk are all within 500 metres of the hotel.

$236
NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Dam 9, Amsterdam
4.2
of 5, from 74 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Oude Centrum, this luxury hotel is steps from National Monument, Dam Square, and Royal Palace. New Church and The Old Church are also within 5 minutes.

$210
NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace

NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace

Prins Hendrikkade 59-72, Amsterdam
4.4
of 5, from 36 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Oude Centrum, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Sexmuseum and The Old Church. Dam Square and New Church are also within 15 minutes.

$200
Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam

Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam

Damrak 1-5, Amsterdam
4.0
of 5, from 1,584 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in downtown Amsterdam, this historic hotel is situated in the lively shopping and business district opposite the city's main train station, and with canal cruises across the street.

Kalkmarkt Suites

Kalkmarkt Suites

Kalkmarkt 5, Amsterdam
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Oude Centrum, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Nemo Science Museum and The Old Church. Stopera and National Maritime Museum are also within 15 minutes.