Amsterdam’s Red Light District

If you want to visit the busiest section of Amsterdam, aim for the Red Light District situated by Central Station and sandwiched between Old Town and Chinatown.  Now, you’re not allowed to take photos of the “ladies” but I’ll try to describe our brief tour through there last night around 10 p.m.  While there are no signs or billboards directing you there, a single red string of lights on the main canal cutting through it, Oudezijds Voorburgwal, will signal your arrival as will the hordes of horny men packing the streets to check it out.

Moulin Rouge-just one of the "shows" in the Red Light District in Amsterdam
Moulin Rouge-just one of the “shows” in the Red Light District in Amsterdam

So, I’m looking around and not seeing what the big deal is and then I spotted in the lower below ground windows the “ladies” in their lingerie trying to entice men into their lairs.  All types and some looking quite bored on their smartphones, the “ladies” just open their private door once they get a live one and in they go for whatever they want (all legal here) in their private room and they discreetly close their red curtain to show they are busy for awhile.  Not sure what their rates are but here, in the off season, they didn’t seem to be busy so perhaps you can negotiate a good price.  Interestingly, even in the regular part of town, you’ll be walking by commercial shops and look down and see a lady in her finest waiting for a client in the window.  We even saw one gal with a feather boa and not much else on who had to be 70 if she was a day.  What???  No, I’m not judging.

Cannabis College in the Red Light District..wonder how many credits needed to graduate?
Cannabis College in the Red Light District..wonder how many credits needed to graduate?

What WAS super busy was the live porn shows with lines around the block of young folks, lots of couples, waiting their turn to see whatever was going on inside-one can only imagine.  Once you get through the red light part, you immediately go into the high density weed shops where you can order off a menu depending on your need.  Not like in the old days, as Thom would say, when you put a fiver into a hole in the door and out would come a bag for you.  I don’t know of such things, being the Hoosier good girl hick that I am, so Thom has to share his NYC stories of bad behavior with me.  And, of course, along with the sex and weed going on, the big business in this part of town is the donut/pizza shops that are on every corner like Starbucks in Seattle.  I guess you work up an appetite in that part of town quite quickly.

Donuts & Pizza, of course!  Red Light District works up an appetite!
Donuts & Pizza, of course! Red Light District works up an appetite!

In a city where prostitution and weed are legal and the folks don’t go into work until 10 a.m., overall everyone seems pretty darn happy and laid back.  Thom, of course, wants to rent a houseboat and move here immediately. Predictable he is!

Life is an adventure and we never know what experiences we will move on to next but I’m certainly open to anything and everything!  We love Europe and all it’s quirks and history and cultural differences to the US.  I can’t wait to explore more countries while we are still spry enough and able to afford to travel in the style Thom has become accustomed to.  Off we go!!

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