Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Amsterdam Red-Light District

Probably you know that the Amsterdam Red-Light District is a famous part of the Netherlands. This is a unique place, so in this article I would like to present you some interesting facts about it. You can find the well-known Amsterdam Red-Light District covering a large portion of the oldest section of the city. For five centuries it has been there for both visitors and locals, servicing their desires and needs. The old buildings, the odd angels and the tree-enshrouded canals confer the area a certain charm that tempts the visitors to linger longer. Until late at night you can hear all genres of music along the streets, coming from more than a dozen places. The revamped facades, redone streets and classier restaurants transform this area, once dingy and dark, into almost the most attractive part of the city.

Prostitution in the District

One interesting fact about Netherlands is that it has a very tolerant policy regarding prostitution: it is legal. But you probably already know that. Mostly it is concentrated in the Red-Light District, where it has been enjoying for centuries a tradition of tolerance. But only since October 2000 it is legal for window prostitutes to ply their trade. But here it a thing you most certain didn’t know: the prostitutes there, like the rest of the population, are taxpayers. But despite all the tolerance, some people are still discriminating this kind of jobs, therefore many prostitutes sustain that some banks refuse to grant them loans or mortgages.

Now, being a legal profession, the government grants all prostitutes access to medical care, and this means not only working in better conditions, but it also allows the government to regulate and monitor the practices and the standards. So it’s rather the opposite of all popular beliefs: this area is the safest one in the city. Not only the clusters of policeman are always on duty, but the girls themselves hire private bodyguards to protect them.

The Chinatown

The places where you can find really tasty but authentic Chinese food are rather rare, and the Amsterdam Red-Light District is one of them. The restaurants can be very easy to find, by the cooked Duck hanging in front. But the name itself, Chinatown, is somehow misleading, as you can find dozens of Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian cafes and restaurants scattered around. But the Chinese have other business besides restaurants, like well stocked supermarkets.

The Red-Light District Today

Amsterdam is best known for its liberal and tolerant attitude. Instead of criminalizing people for being into soft drugs, pornography or prostitution, the city embraces this natural human side. You can find three Red-Light Districts in Amsterdam: de Pijp, the Singel, and the main one – in the Walletjes zone. So you have where to choose from. Enjoy!