A Brief History Of The Red Light - in Amsterdam / Red Light District / Information & History

A Brief History Of The Red Light


Tel: none

Share on Facebook

Amsterdam's Red Light area dates back to the 14th Century, although did not reach a state of notoriety until 17th Century when the city and it's port experienced their Golden Age of trade. The houses of pleasure survived legislation and the influence of The Church and, in Napoleonic times, health concerns instigated the practice of bi-weekly health checks primarily to reduce the spread of syphilis amongst the troops. This pragmatic approach continued until 1911 when a law was introduced banning brothels as a form of "legalized sexual abuse". This legislation, much as the prohibition of alcohol in the US, failed to achieve it's aim of stopping the trade, simply driving it underground into the private salons of the day, and removing any control or health concerns. Areas such as those around the Oudekerk (Old Church) that today form Amsterdam's best known Red Light district, De Wallen, were increasingly tolerated as time went by, and the discreet curtained windows of the past became the neon lit street and canal side chambers of the present day. The City Of Amsterdam council are still busy trying to control this oldest of trades with various attempts at taxing the prostitutes, and in 2007/8 the almost compulsory purchase of properties for re-development into shops and housing, causing the formation of Platform 1012 (after the area's postcode), an organisation run by local business owners to prevent the destruction of their environment.