Amsterdam has something of a reputation as an infamous den of vice. Liberal attitudes towards pretty much anything and everything have attracted like-minded people into the city for centuries, and legalized marijuana and prostitution make it a playground for those looking for alternative ways of fun.
Delving into the dark underbelly of the notorious Red Lights District can seem daunting at first, especially if your personal attitudes aren’t quite as relaxed as those of the Dutch. In reality it isn’t nearly as seedy as it may sound.
Yes, there are live sex shows performed at clubs, the most notable being Theatre Casa Rosso. These shows are mostly frequented by Asian businessmen, bachelorette party groups and clean-cut young couples. I personally found the entire experience somewhat bizarre, but never seedy or dirty. It’s a show like any other.
Yes, the area also has an abundance of prostitutes. I don’t have nearly enough information on the subject to even touch on legalized prostitution and its possible ties to human trafficking. What I will say is, I’ve always supported the legalization of prostitution everywhere, for the safety of sex workers and for the taxation benefits of this surprisingly large industry. In Amsterdam, the whole thing seems oddly ordinary, almost mundane, with scantily clad girls posing in windows like live mannequins.
Anything can happen in Amsterdam, and the anything goes mentality is definitely not limited to the Red Lights District. The city’s nightlife seems omnipresent and endlessly ongoing.
Amsterdam’s dark nights offer something for everyone, from large shiny dance clubs to gritty basement bars and even to spontaneous block parties on the streets. In the end it all melts together into a mixture of red, black and neon, flashing in your mind as you wake up to a new day.
Nothing ever looks quite as raunchy in broad daylight