With the aim of resetting tourist attractions in Amsterdam and cleaning up its reputation for when tourists return after the coronavirus pandemic, the city’s infamous brothel windows will be shut down and a new red light area set up away from the city centre.
When red light tours were banned from De Wallen district last April in order to ease the pressure from tourism in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the city officials are currently taking a series of steps further with a plan to close the brothel windows and set up an ‘erotic centre’ outside of the central district. Sex workers in their glass-fronted booths will be invited to ‘resettle’ to a new ‘erotic centre’ elsewhere in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, the location of which is yet to be determined.
Under the proposed idea, a lobby group known as Red Light United claimed that 90% of female sex workers surveyed wanted to continue working in their current location. Foxxy – a sex worker revealed that relocating workers was ‘not an option as the customers will not know where to find the sex workers. Femke Halsema, Amsterdam’s first female mayor, explained that the regulation aims to combat the “rise in human trafficking by providing a safe environment in which sex workers can run their businesses”. She also expressed concern about the parade of ‘gawping tourists’, mainly groups of young men who roam the De Wallen in Amsterdam at weekends, on pub crawls or to celebrate stag parties drawn by easy access to drugs and prostitution.
What’s more, Halsema limits Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops to residents only. Amsterdam, famed for its picturesque canals, Anne Frank museum and Vincent Van Gogh art collection, is dealing with the huge influx of tourism. It is estimated that over 19 million tourists visited Amsterdam in 2018 – more than the entire population of the Netherlands (850.000 people). Therefore, Amsterdam’s council raises tourist tax on rooms this year, restricts renting out Airbnbs and bans to open new tourist-centric shops in the city.