One of the last strongholds of fair selling love seems to become just a tale soon. They are going to close a legendary red-light district in Amsterdam – De Wallen.
In the Middle Ages Amsterdam became a major trading port with a black-jack and you know what else. Red lights appeared in the 16th century for the drunk sailors. So that they wouldn’t molest “decent” women, local citizens asked the prostitutes to light up the places they worked with red candles. Later, the government gave the Amsterdam prostitutes the whole ghetto and even obligated them to pay tax.
In the year2000, the Dutch government fully legalized prostitution as a business. Every prostitute has the status of a private entrepreneur and everything related to it : tax audits, licenses, sanitary inspection, taxes, etc. They even have, like all working people, a labor union.
In addition to the red light windows where you can choose women, there are apartments for students, studios of architects and designers, galleries, restaurants and even a Buddhist temple there. There’s also a radio station there called Red Light Radio. Recently, the labor union achieved the placement of a statue to honor the sex workers with the slogan “Respect sex workers all over the world.”
But four years ago, local authorities approved the municipal program Project 1012, which provides for the closing of more than half of the 480 brothels. They will be replaced by local fashion designers shops, restaurants and hotels without sex services. The authorities want Amsterdam to become a center for family entertainment.
The mayor of Amsterdam pointed out that the Red Light District worsens crime in the city. Respectable citizens are pressed by pimps who bring women from other countries, promising them a career as models or dancers. Therefore, the authorities have promised to provide new jobs and rehabilitate the women who will be, if it could be said so, dismissed. But many prostitutes, however, still are opposed to their ‘return to the upright position’. They say the authorities don’t think about women’s rights and don’t see women sex workers as independent. The prostitutes are sure the best way to help them is to give them right to do what they want, which means to continue working there.
By the way, the second most popular attraction among tourists, coffee shops with legal marijuana, are also under the threat of closing. Therefore, out of the holy trinity of the Netherlands: ‘sex-drugs-rock-n-roll’, people seem to able to enjoy only the music soon. Time will show whether it’s possible to keep the main Dutch attractions.