Changes for red light district put off some British tourists – but inspire others


Some British tourists will be less likely to visit Amsterdam after hearing news of plans to relocate the red light district to an erotic centre, but others will be more likely to come, according to a study by Opinium Amsterdam.

The surveyors questioned 2,000 British adults and 1,241 Dutch adults last week, and found that 11% of the Brits would be less likely to visit and one in five thought the relocation was a bad idea. However, 15% of the people surveyed said they would be more likely to visit the Dutch capital.

Meanwhile, more than a third (35%) of the Amsterdam locals questioned supported the erotic centre plan and 27% were opposed.

The news that some tourists will be deterred is likely to be welcomed by tourist experts who are later this month starting a campaign to tell nuisance visitors to ‘Stay Away’.

Last year, city economics chief Sofyan Mbarki announced a series of measures promote respectful tourists and local residents over troublemakers, including a ban on cannabis smoking in public and reduced opening times for bars, clubs and brothels.

The council recently announced three potential locations to relocate 100 brothel windows from the red light district to a new erotic centre, to be built by private money on city land, to the concern of the European Medicines Agency, which relocated to Amsterdam after Brexit, winning over Italy.


Mayor Femke Halsema told Dutch News last year that she was determined to reduce tourist misbehaviour. ‘They come to Amsterdam, they drink too much, they get stoned, do not reserve a hotel but stay out all night, they humiliate the sex workers, and they make a lot of noise,’ she said. ‘So for the people living in the inner city, it’s not liveable any more.’

Despite the concerns of sex workers, the mayor believes the centre could increase worker rights rather than being ‘a place where only petty criminals, the most vulnerable women gather’.

Emily Dickinson, Head of Opinium Amsterdam, said its research suggested the plan may not have the desired effects. ‘The plan to move the red light district out of Amsterdam’s city centre hinges on the belief that it will help reduce the impact of tourism on Amsterdam locals,’ she said in a statement.

‘However, looking at figures for tourists who would be more likely to go to Amsterdam if the red light district moved, a slightly higher proportion (15%) say they would – raising the question over whether the move will change anything for Amsterdam residents at all.’

Local News

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