United Kingdom

Amsterdam unveils vision for 'erotic centre' to clean up red light district

Amsterdam is preparing to build a five-storey 'erotic centre' in a bid to clean up and relocate the city's famed red light district.

Plans for the 5,000 square-metre out-of-town building have been outlined in a document submitted to the council by mayor Femke Halsema.

The mayor hopes to move and downsize the red light district from the alleyways in Singel, Amsterdam, to a purpose-built centre outside of the main hub.

The erotic centre will contain 100 small rooms, two bars and an 'erotic entertainment venue' including a strip club, according to The Guardian.

Amsterdam is preparing to build a five-storey 'erotic centre' as part of plans to relocate the famed red light district and attract 'better quality' tourists (stock image)

The city is reportedly seeking a commercial partner for the enterprise, which comes as part of plans to turn the focus away from sex and drugs and make the inner city more livable for locals.

In January, the council approved Halsema's plans to shut down some of the windows in Amsterdam's red light district, which is currently located around the docks.

There are nine possible locations for the out-of-town erotic centre, which will only boast one entrance in a bid to make sex workers feel more secure, according to Het Parool.

The document sent to the council also claims the new building will have space for emergency services and may have an entry price to avoid 'leering' tourists at De Wallen, where the red light district is currently located.

Plans for the 5,000 square-metre out-of-town building have been outlined in a document submitted to the council by mayor Femke Halsema (pictured in 2018) 

The mayor hopes to move the Red Light District from the narrow alleyways in Singel (pictured), Amsterdam, to a purpose-built erotic centre outside of the main hub

The mayor also hopes to improve the rights and conditions for sex workers, clean up the city's historic centre and reduce human trafficking and criminality.

But the plans have seen some opposition from sex workers, with non-profit organisation Prostitution Information Centre, set up by former sex worker Mariska Majoor, voicing their concerns.

Taking to Twitter, they penned: 'Many sex workers on De Wallen do not want to go to an erotic centre, they want to keep the windows in the red light district. Many residents too. 

'Time and again sex workers are blamed for nuisance in the red light district that they do not cause.'

Tours of the legal prostitution zone, which have been deemed 'disrespectful' to sex-workers, by deputy Mayor Victor Everhardt, were already banned from April 1, 2020.  

Also under consideration is the reduction of the number of cannabis coffee shops and banning foreign tourists from being served in them, a move which is likely to be met with opposition from local councillors.

The erotic centre will reportedly contain 100 small rooms, two bars and an 'erotic entertainment venue' including a strip club (Pictured: Red light district in 2014)

Cannabis has been readily available in coffee shops in Singel, Amsterdam, where prostitution is also allowed, but Halsema is seeking political support to stop foreigners visiting to get high.

The mayor has previously said the goal was to 'strengthen cultural diversity and the local identity', as well as create 'more accessible public space and more greenery'.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the city attracted 20 million tourists per year and was known for its thriving nightlife and cannabis-selling cafes and bars. 

A surveyed 11 per cent of tourists saying they would never visit the city again if cannabis was prohibited, the research by the Amsterdam research, information and statistics office, found last year.

Amsterdam is looking to stop foreign tourists, who are known to be rowdy in the red light areas, from being drawn to the city centre.

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