This is an update to a previous post. It started as just a handful of brothels being closed.


Amsterdam plans to close down its most famous district, citing sleaze, criminal activity and human trafficking. Not everybody is happy about it. Two weeks ago a young Dutch fashion designer named Bas Kosters opened a new store. His colorful and sumptuous creations—skirts, handbags, sweatshirts—merit attention. But the most striking aspect of his new venue is the location. Kosters’s work is on display in Amsterdam’s Red Light District behind two tall windows that until recently were used as a brothel. The ladies have vanished. The red lights and curtains have been removed and replaced by Kosters’s hyper fashionable clothes. Kosters found this studio thanks to an ambitious plan by the Amsterdam city government. Arguing that too many brothels and sex bars are linked to criminality, the authorities plan to all but erase the Red Light District. If the plan goes through, the peep shows, sex shops and prostitute windows that line the small alleys and canals will have to go, giving way to galleries, boutiques and upscale restaurants and bars.

Amsterdam’s mayor, Job Cohen, and his aldermen have demonstrated little nostalgia for the district, which has been the world’s most famous home of sexual permissiveness since the 15th century. They first unveiled the plan to close it in December; last month they revoked the licenses of two widely known sex venues, the Casa Rosso and the Banana Bar. The next step is to buy out the real estate owners. Last fall the city struck a deal with a powerful brothel owner, Charles Geerts (known as “Fat Charlie”), to buy 20 buildings. A recent survey confirms the sentiment: the city administration’s polling agency found that 67 percent of Amsterdam’s population supports a clampdown on sketchy business. The Amsterdam City Council approved the plan about two weeks ago by an overwhelming 43-2 majority. And what about the ladies? The Red Light District has about 450 windows where women offer their services. Where will the inhabitants go, once they’re forced out of work? Asscher says most of the prostitutes are part of international human-trafficking networks that draw on women from Eastern Europe, and they will most likely move on to Antwerp, Hamburg and other European cities. For those that remain, the city administration may start certifying pimps and require that prostitutes who work for them to be 21 years old.

I’ve only been to the district once, and was surprised at how clean and civil it all seemed, parents walking with their families through the district seemed untroubled by the activity going on around them. Yet there was something a little seedy about the whole thing.

  1. eyeofthetiger says:

    A moment of silence for the red light district that is not even gone? Pass the hashish, brohah. No shit prostitution is fueled and fuels the underground criminal world. These are not a bakeries with fancy coffee. I do not know Dutch politics but I would content that Mr. Deputy Mayor was getting his booties wet.

  2. Daniel says:

    I wonder how much tourism they will lose because of this? A big draw at least for some was the open access to pot and women. I was considering going this year and am glad I decided against it… I wasn’t going to for the sake of being able to partake in either vice but it sounded like fun to be able to go and people watch.

  3. AdmFubar says:

    sounds like the local politcos weren’t getting enough of a cut to keep them around…$$$ usually keep such activity going.. well in there i think it might be euros…….

  4. rectagon says:

    OK. I must have misread this. I don’t the see the part blaming Christians. Let me read it again….

  5. moss says:

    Gentrification works the same everywhere, folks. Just that NIMBY’s doing the whining, this time, happen to be pimps.

  6. dvdchris says:

    There goes my trip to Amsterdam.

  7. bobbo says:

    Its difficult to be “FOR” prostitution. It can only flourish where it is not illegal, and not focused on.

    So, let democracy rule. We’ll vote against our baser nature, but that nature won’t change.

    Hard to track the net/net effect of “things” being legal and above board vs being illegal and driven underground. I have to think that being honest is the better policy, but hard to prove.

  8. jasmoran66 says:

    The title mentioned a War on Sex. Does Sex have an army? And how can I enlist?

  9. jasmoran66 says:

    The title mentioned a War on Sex. Does Sex have an army? And how can I enlist? We must not fail! No Virgin Left Behind!

    Perhaps I should have read the rest of the story…

  10. zeph says:

    The country of “tolerance” is rapidly becoming Euro-ized…

  11. ECA says:

    Do you KNOW what the problem is??


    You KNOW that if these guys were PAYING for it, to HAPPEN, the gov would shut up, and Cut taxes…

  12. pfkad says:

    Human Trafficking? And the solution is to close brothels? Sort of like busting reefer users to battle international drug cartels.

  13. qsabe says:

    Those darn Christians are doing it again. Ruining a guys fun and a womans worth in life. Now all that’s left will be fags doing it in parades…

    There that should offend just about all major influencer’s of the PC lifestyles.

  14. TheGlobalWarmingNemesis says:

    One of the few things somewhere outside the US did better. Now that too is going away.

  15. Lou Bix says:

    Where is a Ho to go ?
    They should start doing tricks on the mayors street.
    When I was last there, it seemed to be working fine. The PC clowns, fuck up everything.

  16. Miklox says:

    I think tourists go to Amsterdam to either experience the drugs and women or to see how such a tolerant society functions and feels. I don’t think Amsterdam ever had a problem with this I have always felt safe in the red light much more than other so called “normal” places on earth.
    The red light has always had such an interesting atmosphere and coffee shops are a great alternative where one can relax and not be criticized for having a smoke. I’ve never run across any trouble in coffeeshops, only relaxed friendly people doing their own thing and not bothering anyone. Nightclubs and bars are always full of idiots wanting to fight, killing each other and health wise you see a lot more problems with people binge drinking.
    The problem today is that there are very few people left with some courage to be different and everyone is just becoming conformist and lazy and so is the case with Dutch people. Have a look around nearly everyone you see these days is mediocre at best. Most people on the street are dumb (sometimes to the point of been and acting retarded, ugly, unhealthy, rude, depressed, jealous and of course they see something like the red light and feel small because there are beautiful women out there making good money and a lot of decent, useful citizens enjoying their services. Women and pot does not ruin a society, it makes life fun and should be a part of life in every country. Amsterdam has always been a safe place and made loads of money from tourism because of this and its tolerance and uniqueness. Take this away and you have just a pretty town full of brainwashed, conformist conservatives of which there are lots in Europe.
    And as for letting fashion designers live rent free for a year and move in to the red light, thats unbelievable. You’d think they could find something a little more fair and useful to put there if they are going to take it off. How about housing for the poor or real services which benefit the whole society not just a few boring rich gay people. No one needs more fashion designers. In such a situation I think the Dutch should protest and revolt against this as their future and livelihoods could very well be affected in a bad way as Amsterdam will no longer be reeling in the large amounts of tourist money it once did. Just because a few politicians want to help their lazy sons and daughters and set them up with fashion shops for their own personal gain, why should the rest of society agree to this? How many Dutch people have actually been mugged or killed in the red light? I bet no more than in any city in Europe, Australia or the US.
    But looks like another victory for politicians brainwashing the masses and pretending to be do-gooders while only thinking about whats going into their pockets.

  17. martymurphy says:

    God bless Amsterdam. . its a beautiful place. . i was there last week and went window shopping, went to a sex show and smoked the finest gear in the land. Its part of their culture and it was a pleasure for me to experience part of their culture. To take this away from them would mean takiing a part of them and they would lose so many visitors so the government needs to pull his socks up lol

  18. Phil J says:

    This will just drive the whole thing underground where it can’t be controlled.


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