Amsterdam has a reputation around the world for being the home of all sorts of wild stuff. The story is that the Dutch city is filled with legal drugs and prostitutes. People who have never been there might imagine that it is just some huge hedonist orgy that never ends.
The reality is that it is a pretty plain and quiet city. It’s also expensive. I always book a hotel room online when I go because if you show up without a reservation you will be raked over the coals. Walking around most of the city during the day is a quiet experience. It’s not even that much more lively at night. Anyone looking for a Soi Cowboy experience when in Amsterdam will be disappointed. Even the drugs are dulled down now.
“Hard drugs” including XTC are totally illegal in Amsterdam. It’s also illegal to sell weed in Amsterdam. The quirk is that no one enforces the law about weed, so so-called coffeeshops still push it to their customers. They limit their sales at 5 grams though, and customers aren’t even allowed to drink beer or smoke a cigarette inside. They’re not allowed to advertise either, so they don’t even have signs. It’s weird.
Red light districts in Amsterdam
The red-light districts ain’t what they used to be either. At least from what I hear. There are stories of really wild fun going on back in the day. Now there are just some windows mixed in with regular shops and even churches. The women who work there are totally cold, hardened and mechanical. Plus they do the deed in tiny little rooms. I can see how inexperienced guys can get off in these kinds of places but for a guy with some notches in his best and the ability to travel at least to neighboring Germany it hardly seems ideal.
But thousands of guys are still going to the windows in Amsterdam every day so maybe I’m just missing out. Anyway, here’s how it works. If you see a chick you like you have to go to her window and negotiate. A usual rate is 50 Euros for twenty minutes. Some chicks want more than that. Some of the Africans and Latinas will do it for a lot less. Everything has to be negotiated up front. Otherwise the chicks might try to upsell in the room. “Oh, you wanted to fuck me in more than one position? That’ll be an extra 50 Euros. A blow job? That’ll be another 50.”
There are three main red-light districts in Amsterdam. The most famous is De Wallen.
De Wallen stretches between Warmoestraat and Geldersekade roads. On the other sides it’s bordered by canals (but in that part of the city everything is). The biggest landmark in the area is the famous Oude Kerk church. Hilariously enough, that’s almost in the middle of the red-light district. De Wallen is where most tourists go. Accordingly, it is also the worst. Rip offs abound and every local I’ve talked to avoided the place. Prices are the highest of any red light district in the city and women are cold as ice. The best thing about the place is the variety. The 200-plus windows have different kinds of chicks. Europeans from Romania and the like are the most common. Africans and Latinas are pretty common. You might see some Asians around too but they looking nothing like the babes in the top go go bars back home. A couple of the windows have transexuals but they’re pretty obvious. There are actually tour guides that bring people to De Wallen in groups to gawk at the place. That’s also weird, especially if you’re walking in or out of one of the windowed rooms.
Singelgebied is a lot smaller than De Wallen, but it’s a favorite for locals who are still into the glass fronted knocking shops. It’s located between Singel Road and the unpronouncable Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. If you find the Tales & Spirits bar you’ll be right in the middle of it. Even though Singelgebied is just a short walk from De Wallen few tourists ever go there. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s not in any Lonely Planet guide books or something. Since it’s not a tourist area it’s generally free from hassle. You don’t see people begging for money or doing wicked heroin leans in Singelgebied. It has less than half the number of windows as the main red-light district but the chicks in them are friendlier and less likely to rip off their customers. They aren’t any worse looking than the chicks from the main area either. Plus they are all actually women.
De Pijp is the smallest red-light district in Amsterdam with just 40 windows. Even when they are all in operation that pales in comparison to the other districts. Conversely, it seems to be the most local oriented of all the districts and the chicks are even cheery at times. De Pijp only takes up one side of a single street. It’s located on Ruysdaelkade road between Albert Cuyperstraat and Van Ostadestraaat. There’s a nice male pisser right in the middle of the district too which is quite convenient after a long day of public drinking and paid sex. De Pijp is really quite and just looks like a nice residential street except for the glowing red windows. There isn’t a ton of street traffic so there is actually some privacy involved.
There is also a new red-light area under construction but it is an on and off again thing. I first heard they were going to build it a while back and I’m still waiting. The current status is in limbo.
The Amsterdam Red Light District Maps website has better maps and more up to date news than I could ever hope to come up with. It’s probably the best source in the world for information on the city and it’s RLDs.