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Red Light Dimming . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I've traveled to Amsterdam twice.

One time was with my parents, and the other time I barely remember. I enjoyed both trips for reasons such as: most people spoke English, the canals, the Van Gogh museum, legal dope, generally friendly people, good walking paths and of course, the Red Light District.

But now, Amsterdam's (in)famous Red Light District seems to be on the brink of retail extinction. A new plan to clean up the zip code would erase the peep shows, sex shops and prostitute-laden windows. They would be replaced by boutiques and upscale restaurants. Fashion and galleries would line the streets instead of the warm red glow of exposed vice.

The driving force behind the project is Lodewijk Asscher, a rising member of the Dutch Labour Party and deputy mayor of Amsterdam. Asscher has taken it upon himself to deliver his hometown from sleaze. He appears to have strong support as the Amsterdam City Council approved the new plan by an overwhelming 43-2 majority.

This news saddens me.

I've never stepped inside one of the Working Girl windows, however, I would much rather live in a world where the Red Light District existed than one where it was driven underground to make way for yet another boutique that wants to charge me $250 for a pair of jeans and $100 for a t-shirt.

There are too many of those places in the world already.

The Red Light District is an anomaly, a haven that allows desire to be bought and sold in the open instead of hiding it away to fester. I never felt any danger while walking through that part of town, and regulating the $100 million-a-year business struck me as a good idea for nearly everyone involved.

I'm sure Vincent Vega from 'Pulp Fiction' wouldn't have hung around Amsterdam for so long had the District been extinct. And while it won't make me cross Amsterdam off my places to visit again list, this impending change does lessen the appeal in a vague way.

{Editor's Note: This feeling has nothing to do with the fact that I did attend one of the live sex shows during my last trip - strictly for research.}



  1. Heff Says:
  2. I agree, 2 Dollar. "Historical monuments" are very important to modern day society. "That Lodewijk....WHAT AN ASS-CHER !!! "

  3. I'm with you on this one. While I wouldn't participate in the sleaziness, it's good that there's a place where it's embraced. I wonder how this will affect tourism to Amsterdam.

  4. Heff - I concur. Let's leave a little bit of vice open to the public.

    Native Minnow - Definitely. I have no plans to partake in the "behind the curtain" action, however, I would still like for it to be out there somewhere. I'll be curious on the tourism angle as well.

  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. Yeah, research... Gimme a break. Seeing how far a woman can stick a banana up her cooter is not research.

    I am appalled at this new direction though. There are basically three key hooker travel destinations in the world, Amsterdam, southeast Asia and Cuba. Of the three, only one is a legitmate industry that is being properly taxed and the labourers are being treated fairly under modern labour laws. And lemme tell ya, it ain't Cuba or Thailand.

    I am in favour of a properly regulated sexual favour industry. I'm just really glad there isn't one in my town. By would I be broke if there was...

  7. I don't know why they have to lump dope into getting rid of the hookers.

    But.... things have changed over the year and the Red Light District has a horrible sex slave trade that isn't what ANY city/country wants.

    But,let's leave the Hooka Shops alone.

  8. BostonPobble Says:
  9. I have never been to Amsterdam, still, I was saddened by this when I first read of it. In "cleaning up" areas, yes, we are making them safer. We are also ridding the areas of character and quirkiness and individuality. The underbelly may not always be pretty or nice ~ it is however rarely dull and shouldn't be completely removed. This has been a soapbox of mine since the Disneyfication of Times Square and the gentrification of the Combat Zone in my beloved Boston. Yes, they are both safer areas now ~ but they could exist anywhere, in any city or country, and the flavor that made them so unique is gone forever.

  10. Miss Ash Says:
  11. I went to Amsterdam 9 years ago, I also did not partake in any behind the curtains shenanigans nor did I feel at harm in that general area. I did attend a live sex show and I went to a cafe or two....It's like we're the same person 2DP haha!!

  12. j Says:
  13. red light district discovery with your parents? or maybe that was the time you barely remember...

  14. Gypsy Says:
  15. That's a shame because making these things legal is what makes them safer. Its when people are forced to do things illegally that the danger comes into being. Besides, it's what makes Amsterdam unique. Live sex show for research eh? What exactly was the project? Hmmmmm.....

  16. WhatIgot - Yeah, the banana part wasn't really that sexy though. At least I didn't find it to be (nor did the Pirate act get to me). But I didn't know that about Cuba, although I can't say that I'm surprised. I'm sure your financial advisor is thankful there's no sex trade close to yr. home.

    Anonymous Boxer - Sorry. I meant no confusion as I don't believe that dope is being outlawed as well - at least not yet. I would really be angry over that one. Anyway, I would agree that the sex slave trade is alive and well in Amsterdam, but I also bet it won't go away just because you drive the clubs underground. That being said, I've never done an in-depth study, so I could be wrong.

    Bostonpobble - I agree completely as I've heard quite a few people bemoan the "Disneyfication of Times Square," although I'm not sure about the "gentrification of the Combat Zone" as I'm curious about that one. And loved yr. last sentence.

    Miss Ash - I feel like I'm talking to myself. Ha. And yes, I felt the exact same way as I was generally surrounded by tourists with videocameras filming the whole thing, and as for the smoke shops, things get rather hazy.

    J - The first time was with the parents, and I was in college. That was fairly tame as it was mainly musuems and Heineken. The next time was with friends on a Euro trip, and that was a little dicier.

    Gypsy - I agree. It's yr. first point that I would stand behind, and argue against banning the District. It will always exist, and driving it underground just makes it more dangerous in my mind. As for the show - No comment.

  17. vivavavoom Says:
  18. First NYC, now Amsterdam. Tragedy!!

  19. An ugly state of affairs both at home and abroad.

  20. Blogger Says:
  21. Want to watch live sex cams? Take a look at Chaturbate.


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