Red Light District

Amsterdam
Red Light District featuring a river or creek, a church or cathedral and street scenes

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

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Top hotels in Red Light District

XO Hotels City Centre
XO Hotels City Centre
3 out of 5
Beursstraat 11 - 19, Amsterdam
The price is £55 per night from 1 Nov to 1 Nov
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Body Worlds, National Monument and Amsterdam Chinatown. Dam Square and Nes are also ...
3.6/5 Good! (326 reviews)
"Excellent ! Extremely nice and very clean! Big and spacious!!"

Reviewed on 7 Sep 2021

XO Hotels City Centre
Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam City Center
Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam City Center
4 out of 5
Rusland 17, Amsterdam
The price is £161 per night from 21 Nov to 21 Nov
This family-friendly Amsterdam hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Nes, Amsterdam Dungeon and Rembrandt House Museum. Amsterdam ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (977 reviews)
"Good and convenient"

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2021

Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam City Center
NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace
NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace
5 out of 5
Prins Hendrikkade 59-72, Amsterdam
The price is £140 per night from 21 Nov to 21 Nov
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Amsterdam Chinatown and Public Library. Body Worlds and Nes are also within ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (949 reviews)
"Super clean, cozy, great stuff & DELICIOUS BREAKFAST! Try scrambled eggs & freshly baked croissants.. too good!"

Reviewed on 11 Oct 2021

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 £185 per night from 21 Nov to 21 Nov
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 ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (1,265 reviews)
"Celebrating our 10th anniversary and a birthday was very special, the staff is very helpful and listening. The rooms are clean and very well equipped. Room service was great. Will definitely visit again."

Reviewed on 17 Oct 2021

NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
NH Collection Amsterdam Doelen
NH Collection Amsterdam Doelen
5 out of 5
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 26, Amsterdam
The price is £127 per night from 28 Nov to 28 Nov
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Flower Market, Rembrandt House Museum and Willet-Holthuysen Museum. The 9 Streets ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (536 reviews)
"Great location. Cool and helpful staffs."

Reviewed on 12 Oct 2021

NH Collection Amsterdam Doelen
Hotel Mai Amsterdam
Hotel Mai Amsterdam
4 out of 5
30 Geldersekade, Amsterdam, NH
The price is £90 per night from 7 Nov to 7 Nov
Located in Amsterdam City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Amsterdam Chinatown and Public Library. Body Worlds and Rembrandt House Museum are ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (167 reviews)
"Staff were extremely friendly and"

Reviewed on 16 Oct 2021

Hotel Mai Amsterdam
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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