The district 'de Wallen' (‘the Quays’ in English) is known as the Red Light District. Prostitutes can be seen in a number of streets in this world-famous district. The area has historically been an important centre of prostitution: the district was assigned to prostitutes for the plying of their trade as long ago as 1413.

This part of the city centre has always been a special place; a mix of chic and shady.

Prostitution in the Netherlands

Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000. Before that time, prostitution was tolerated, although it was technically illegal.
Prostitution (sex for money) is legal in the Netherlands as long as it is a voluntary act between two consenting adults. To help stop abuse in the sex industry, the Netherlands decided to change the law to reflect everyday reality. By legalising prostitution, the government sought to gain more control of the industry and thereby bring an end to a range of abuses that had been occurring, including the exploitation of children and forced prostitution.

Project 1012

The City of Amsterdam is dedicated to making the heart of the city (postcode area 1012) safer, more attractive and more liveable. The collaborative Project 1012 was established in the summer 2007 to address numerous issues affecting the historical city centre: a part of the city vital to domestic and international tourism. The City of Amsterdam and the Centre District of Amsterdam work together in Project 1012 to reduce crime and improve the economic prospects of the area.

Through Project 1012, the City of Amsterdam wants to reduce crime and degeneration in the city centre, boost the quality and diversity of the area and provide the impulse for economic upturn. The measures that will be taken to achieve this include promoting 10 key projects, reorganising public space and a street-oriented approach aimed at significantly reducing the number of coffeeshops and brothels that engage in window prostitution. It goes without saying that the unique character of the city centre will be retained. The City of Amsterdam is working together with residents, businesses and investors to draw up plans for upgrading the different sections of the centre.

Numerous positive developments are currently underway in the 1012 postcode area. The introduction of new bars, restaurants and businesses is helping to make the area more attractive for residents, visitors and other businesses looking to move to the area.

Read more about Project 1012.