A Brief History Of The Red Light

Oudekerksplein
Amsterdam
1012GX
Netherlands

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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.
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