Amsterdam Prostitution: Age Limits
One of the most-frequently asked questions we receive is this one regarding the Red Light District: In Amsterdam, what is the age limit for prostitutes and their customers?
Prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in the year 2000.
Legally, prostitution is viewed as a profession like any other. Prostitutes are subject to the same legal requirements as any other business person, including the payment of income tax.
- Age of Consent
In the Netherlands, the age of consent for non-commercial sex is 16
Throughout the Netherlands, prostitutes must be at least 18 years old. A new law, not yet in effect, will soon raise the minimum age to 21. It has not yet been determined at what date the new law will take effect.
- However, since July, 2013, the City of Amsterdam already requires prostitutes to be at least 21 years of age. The city raised the age limit as part of a series of measures to tackle widespread abuse, including human trafficking and slavery. Engaging the services of a prostitute under the age of 18 is a punishable crime.
Clients must be at least 16 years old — the age of consent. There are calls from a Christian political party to introduce a minimum age of 21 for customers.
Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution
Don’t miss a visit to the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution. The museum is located in a former brothel, at the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal. That’s right in the middle of the Red Light District. You will you learn the story of sex work in Amsterdam, and how prostitution became a legal profession.
You’ll also be able to experience what it is like to sit in a red-lighted window yourself. (Talk about a unique selfie!)
Prostitution is a legal profession. Forced Prostitution is illegal.
In the Netherlands, voluntary prostitution is a legal profession. Forced prostitution is illegal.
Despite continuing efforts to crack down on crime, human trafficking still occurs.
If you, as a customer, suspect that the prostitute you visit is not working of her own free will and/or may show signs of having been abused, it is your legal responsibility to report a possible crime. You can do so anonymously, by calling a hotline operated by an independent organization: 0800-7000 (free call).
Meld Misdaad Anoniem is a member of the international organization Crime Stoppers International (CSI).
Visiting the Red Light District: Minimum Age
There is no minimum age to visit the Red Light Area. It is, after all, a residential neighborhood that is home to some 9.000 people.
You’ll also find a wide variety of businesses — from art galleries to restaurants, and from cafés and coffee houses to supermarkets. There even is a daycare center across from the Old Church and right next door to window brothels.
Safest Way: Guided Red Light District Tours
The best and safest way to visit Amsterdam’s Red Light District is to take a guided tour led by someone who knows the area and its history inside-out.
Amsterdam Red Light District Fights Human Trafficking
Network of human traffickers forced women into prostitution
Panel of customers advises Amsterdam City Council on well-being of prostitutes
City will make promotion of Red Light District ‘more honest’
Famous Red Light District to be cleaned up