Red Light District
If you’ve heard of Amsterdam in the Netherlands being an interesting destination, then you’ve probably heard of its rather colourful Red Light District. Crammed full of erotic museums, coffee shops that sell marijuana, sex shops, theatres and brothels, you need to visit with an open mind. This area is one of the city’s major tourist attractions. The oldest part of the ‘Rossebuurt’ is known as De Wallen, with it’s winding alleyways, one-room cabins and red lighting, which serves to illuminate the prostitutes offering their services in the glass windows. With many characterful hotels near the Red Light District to choose from, this is bound to be an experience you’ll remember.
The Red Light District is one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city, with its cobbled streets, ancient tree-lined canals and 14th-century architecture. One such building is the Gothic church, Oude Kerk, with its 13th-century origins, simple interiors and impressive medieval design. Authentic restaurants and cosy cafés mean you can chill out and watch the world go by. Interestingly, this tourist-filled area attracts a greater police presence, making it a safer place to be compared to other parts of the city. Be warned, it is still worth keeping your valuables close by in case of pickpockets.
The Amsterdam Waag, or Weighing House is a surviving section of the former medieval walls of the city. Built in 1488, it formed one of the city gates. With urban expansion, the walls disappeared, the Nieumarkt (New Market) was created and the weighing scales were installed into the City Gate. The building now houses the Waag Society, with a café on the ground floor.
If you fancy a browse, wander over to Waterloo Square, known as Waterlooplein. Created in 1882 it currently houses a daily flea market where you can find all kinds of bargains.
During the day, the Red Light District is relatively quiet, filled full of tourists of all ages wandering through. It’s during the evening that the place comes alive, with neon lights flashing, crowds gathering and ladies exhibiting in their windows. For those not easily shocked, live sex shows are plentiful and include the Casa Rosso and the notorious Moulin Rouge. There are peep shows galore, with many offering video booths and the interactive shows, such as the Amsterdam Banana Bar.
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