10x Amsterdam Red Light District Rules & Laws

This list contains the 10 most important Amsterdam Red Light District rules for when you visit world’s most famous Red Light District area. By following these rules you, the sex workers, other visitors and all inhabitants of this beautiful part of town will have the best experience.

1 | Don’t Take Picture Of Sex Workers

Amsterdam’s most narrow alley with nine windows.

This is one of these Amsterdam Red Light District rules which is not a law but part of the local etiquette. Prostitutes and activists want this changed into a law so that the police can actually fine people who photograph sex workers.

Most (perhaps even all) sex workers that stand behind the windows in the Red Light District do so because of the privacy that it offers compared to online sex work. It is highly disrespectful to take pictures of them and possibly put them online. Besides being disrespectful and in breach of their privacy it could also be dangerous. These women and transgenders don’t play around. Sometimes they throw water people who take pictures or scream when they see this.

2 | Respect The Sex Workers

A window brothel in the Red Light District.

Working as a prostitute is definitely not the easiest job in the world. Never forget that these women in the window are human beings with feelings. Don’t stare, gawk or laugh at them. Show them the same amount of respect that you’d have for any other working woman.

Respect is the most important thing in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

3 | Do Not Drink Alcohol On The Streets

One of the main streets in the area.

Yes, it is forbidden to drink alcohol on the streets of the city of sex, drugs & rock & roll. However, due to nuisance from public drinking Amsterdam decided to ban the consumption of alcohol on the streets. Watch out because a fine is 95,- euro. Since it can actually be fined, this is more than just one of those Amsterdam Red Light District rules. It’s a local law!

Furthermore the enforcement officers will demand that you pay immediately either trough credit- or debit card. So just avoid drinking on the streets all together.

4 | Don’t Throw Your Garbage On The Streets

Amsterdam Red Light District rules
The Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

This is definitely one of the most important Amsterdam Red Light District rules. The local residents are really annoyed by this: littering.

Though this rule applies to every place that you visit it especially applies to the Red Light District because it can get really busy in this area. As soon as one person throws something on the streets many others will soon follow. Don’t be the first one and don’t be a follower. Keep the streets of this beautiful city clean for your own sake and the inhabitants.

5 | Don’t Buy Drugs From Street Dealers

Illegal street dealers Amsterdam
An anti-street dealer campaign in 2014.

There are street dealers on the streets of Amsterdam’s Red Light District during nights. Don’t worry, they won’t harm you. That is, if you don’t buy drugs from them. Besides the fact that it’s forbidden to buy illegal drugs from them they’re also known for selling fake drugs. This might be innocent baking powder instead of cocaine. However in the past they’ve also sold white heroin as coke which led to the deaths of 4 tourists. If you want to be safe simply do not buy drugs from street dealers!

6 | Respect The Neighbourhood & Its Inhabitants

Amsterdam Red Light District Rules
The Old Church Square in Amsterdam.

Many visitors of Amsterdam’s Red Light District fail to realise that this is a residential area like any other with many inhabitants that actually have day jobs. Keep this in mind when you’re wandering through the streets with your friends. The 15th century canal houses aren’t known for their quality sound isolation.

7 | Only Use Designated Public Urinals

Amsterdam Red Light District Famous Street.
Amsterdam Red Light District Famous Street

Amsterdam’s streets or canals aren’t a public urinal. There are public urinals in the streets or simply walk into a bar if you really need go. You don’t really have an excuse. Besides, many tourists have died because of peeing in the canal whilst drunk. They fall over the edge into the cold water and can’t get out. Let that be a warning and just use the available restrooms.

There is this super cool new public toilet in Amsterdam central which you can use. It’s called Sexy Loo and it’s located on the main street in the Red Light District. The toilets are designed as window brothels and it seems like someone is trying to seduce you inside. Click on the link for more details.

8 | Walk On The Right Side Of The Street

Amsterdam Red Light District images
The most narrow alley in Amsterdam.

As you may have heard Amsterdam’s Red Light District has become a bit busier these last few years. To keep the flow of people moving please only walk on the right side of the street or sidewalk. Logically you also shouldn’t stand still in the middle of the street, either alone or with your group of friends.

9 | Don’t Light Up A Joint Below Open Windows

Amsterdam’s Zeedijk is one of the oldest streets in town.

Currently there is no law prohibiting the use of cannabis on the streets in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. However, as you may know, they smell of a joint can be quite strong. When people smoke a joint below open windows during the summertime entire apartment start to smell like cannabis. So please only smoke cannabis in open spaces and parks and look where you stand before lighting one up.

10 useful tips for cannabis use

10 | Don’t Block Window Brothels

Amsterdam Red Light District laws
The “Latin-American” corner in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

The sex workers standing in the windows are advertising their services. Don’t block the only way that they can acquire customers. Online advertisements are forbidden for sex workers who use the window brothels.

Follow these 10 Amsterdam Red Light District rules and the locals will appreciate your visit even more.

Others also read 14 Tips For Cheap Flights To Amsterdam and 10x City Tours in Amsterdam

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