It’s been well known for a while now that Amsterdam city leaders have had enough of anti-social behaviour associated with certain tourists that the city attracts. The city creaks under the strain of mass tourism and has therefore decided to bring in a number of measures to address the problem. Drinking alcohol in public has been banned since 2018, while a coffee shop ban for tourists is said to be next.
However, in the eyes of the municipal government, these measures are not enough. It has now been decided that the Red Light District, De Wallen, must be moved from its current city centre location as this is where party tourism - and the anti-social behaviour associated with it - is often centred. Guided tours of the red light district have already been banned since April 2020.
The Green Party Mayor, Femke Halsema, plans to open an “Erotic Center” outside of central Amsterdam, where sex workers can go about their business without being pestered by drunk tourists. It is also hoped that this measure could stop the rise in illegal prostitution in the Red Light District.
It is still unclear where this new complex will be located and the move will likely take a few years. Criticism of the move has come, from amongst others, the sex workers of the Red Light District themselves. The trade union ‘Red Light United’ published results of a survey in 2019 showing that 90% of 170 sex workers want to remain in De Wallen, as they believe the new Erotic Center would lead to a reduction in custom.
It will be interesting to see how Amsterdam can reinvent itself post-pandemic and if the city can get a handle on mass tourism.
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