Amsterdam’s red light district tours will be banned from April

Laura Hampson
Amsterdam's red light district: Dreamstime

Amsterdam is a capital synonymous with hedonism and debauchery, particularly in its infamous red light district.

Yet, tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the workers here will no longer be able to take a tour of the district under new regulations.

This new rule, which will be implemented from April 1, is an attempt to fight overtourism in De Wallen, where the red light district is found. While all organised tours within De Wallen were banned in January, the new regulation will disallow all Amsterdam-based tours to visit sex work windows.

Deputy Mayor Victor Everhardt said in a statement: “It is disrespectful to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction, therefore tours at De Wallen will be banned. Tours outside the Red Light District will still be permitted, but only if guides and participants of tours adhere to the new, stricter rules. This will help to prevent disruptions for residents and businesses.”

Any tour guide found breaking these rules after the six week ‘warning period’ will be fined €190 and the tour will be disbanded immediately. Three violations mean the guide will lose their permit and companies face penalties between €2,500 and €7,500.

While tourists are still free to wander this district on their own accord, Amsterdam has seen a boom in tourist activity in recent years. An estimated 19 million tourists visited the city (home to just 850,000) in 2018, a number expected to jump to 29 million visitors per year by 2025.

This is just the latest move by Amsterdam’s city council to fight overtourism, over the past two years the city has placed a limit on the amount of days residents can place their home on Airbnb for and tourist tax was raised on rooms at the start of this year.

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