Amsterdam's first female mayor to move around the infamous red light district due to 'hordes of drunken tourists'

4kclips/ShutterstockThe Moulin Rouge, which hosts some sex shows, Amsterdam.
  • Amsterdam’s first female mayor in the city’s 700-year history says she wants to protect and reform the city’s famous red light district.
  • Mayor Femke Halsema said: “Too often now we see vulnerable foreign women behind windows being booed by hordes of drunken tourists,” in an interview with Bloomberg.
  • The district hosts outlets for legal prostitution with many late-night bars and clubs, which facilitate the behaviour Halsema criticises.
  • Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands as long as it involves sex between consenting adults.

Amsterdam’s first female mayor in the city’s 700-year history says she plans to reform the city’s famous red light district to protect workers from the “hordes of drunken tourists.”

Five months into the job she took up in June, Mayor Femke Halsema committed in an interview Bloomberg to tackling problems directly related to the district, which is one of the most famous attractions in the Dutch capital city.

She said: “Too often now we see vulnerable foreign women behind windows being booed by hordes of drunken tourists.”

Amsterdam red light districtFlickr/Bruce TutenRed windows line a building n Amsterdam’s red light district.

There are 370 windows displaying women in the district, belonging to 86 brothels, Bloomberg said. These windows serve as a prominent tourist attraction, often attracting late-night crowds.

Due to the districts’ abundance of bars and clubs nearby, drunken and disorderly behaviour by tourists is commonplace.

Halsema said: “Our inner city is one of the oldest in Europe with an enormous culture historical significance, which is obviously deteriorating. We would like tourists to see the cultural value.”


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One huge issue for Halsema and Amsterdam is over-tourism, as Amsterdam is a small city of 850,000 residents and around 18 million annual visitors.

To combat this, Halsema said she may spread some brothels outside of the district in an effort to ease congestion and revive the historic central zones, she told Bloomberg.

Amsterdam netherlands canalsS.Borisov/ShutterstockA bridge across the an Amsterdam canal.

She said: “What’s of great importance to the city is that Amsterdam is a place where people live.”

“This is not a frozen tourist spot where life becomes difficult. We need to think about what kind of tourists we want to attract, as we shouldn’t have any illusion that the number of tourists in the city will go down. It will keep on rising.”

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands as long as it involves sex between consenting adults.

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