Amsterdam to move Red Light District to curb overtourism

Amsterdam is famous the world over for its Red Light District and its leniency on consuming a certain green herb in public, among other things.

Under a new proposed tourism regulation, tourists will no longer be able to tour the famous neon-lit streets nor enter cannabis coffee shops.

In an effort to mitigate overtourism, Amsterdam’s council banned Red Light tours from the medieval district, known locally as De Wallen.

De Wallen in Amsterdam. Image: Unsplash

The council are extending this ban by closing brothel windows within the district and moving sex workers to a purpose-built centre, the location of which is still being decided.

Famke Halsema, Amsterdam’s mayor, said the decision was taken to combat human traffic incidents ‘by providing a safe environment in which sex workers can run their businesses.’

Lobby group, Red Light United, have contested this plan. ‘Relocating those workplaces is not an option because then the customers will not know where to find the sex workers,’ activist and sex worker Foxxy said to Het Parool newspaper.

Amsterdam increased tourist tax on rooms in 2020 and put certain restrictions on Airbnb rentals.

In 2015 the city’s population stood at 821,752. In the same year, approximately 15 million people visited. Overtourism has long been an issue for the city until the global pandemic hit.

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