Amsterdam's Red Light District to be replaced by a multi-storey 'erotic centre'
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The Red Light District is a right of passage for anyone on a stag do or a girls’ weekend in Amsterdam.
Even if you’re about to be happily married off and won’t be partaking in the legal brothels in the area, there’s plenty of harmless fun from sex shops, to peep shows and museums to discover.
Not for much longer, though, as the iconic red-lit neon lights may be switched off for good, with around 300 sex workers and officials wanting to replace the district with a multi-storey ‘erotic centre’.
Last year, authorities in the Dutch city agreed to do away with the erotic district in an attempt to solve problems with crime and overcrowding in the area.
Instead, a new building with just 100 rooms for those working in the area and tourists looking to literally immerse themselves in the, um, culture, has been green-lit, which will also be home to new bars, entertainment areas, restaurants and a health centre.
Meanwhile, the soon-to-be redundant location of the Red Light District will be made into a residential area.
But there is one problem. No one wants the ‘erotic centre’ to be next to their home.
The complex was proposed to be located in one of eight different areas, including a harbour and a business district, but locals in each location have rejected the plans.
The Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, has no choice but to find a new location for the Red Light District’s replacement.
Halsema said to the Observer: “I hope it’s possible to create an erotic centre that has some class and distinction and isn’t a place where only petty criminals and the most vulnerable women gather.
“But I also realise there is a long road ahead of us because most people associate sex work with crime and with the vulnerability of women, with human rights being violated.
“So in most neighbourhoods, most people are not very enthusiastic about the erotic centre.”
But despite people’s reservations about the forthcoming centre, the Red Light District has actually welcomed 200,000 ‘sex tourists’ each year.
However, the popularity among tourists is not enough for locals to welcome the new build. But nonetheless, Halsema still wants to find a new location for the site before this Christmas.
She said: “I hope before Christmas to choose the final location and make it known – the shortlist is three, but I hope we can narrow it down to one.
“We [local councils] are not going to pay for an erotic centre. It’s a private initiative - tolerance has its limits.”