Category: Red Light District

The Red Light District in Amsterdam is a major draw for tourists.

There are in fact three such districts, but the downtown neighborhood known as “De Wallen,” or “Rosse Buurt,” is the largest and best known. At peak times it sees some 900.000 visitors per week.

The area is also home to some 8.600 residents and 6.145 households.

Locals sometimes refer to the Wallen as ‘a square mile of misery,’ due to instances of human trafficking, exploitation, other criminal elements, and the nuisance caused by both overtourism and petty criminals.

While many visitors still believe Amsterdam has an ‘anything goes’ policy, the City of Amsterdam is actively looking at curtailing the number of prostitutes, pornography-related businesses, and coffeeshops (cannabis cafes).

Options being discussed include moving prostitutes away from the center of town and closing coffeeshops.

The connection between Amsterdam’s coffeeshops and organized crime

Amsterdam coffeeshops The number of coffeeshops in Amsterdam’s Red Light District will be reduced by 34 percent over the next 3-6 years.

The closures are meant to make a dent in the estimated €21 – 42 million in un-taxed, yearly profits made by organized crime syndicates that officials have documented as being involved on the supply side.

The proposed measure, expected to be accepted by the Amsterdam City Council, is part of a large-scale project to clean up and repurpose Amsterdam’s city center.

26 coffeeshops in downtown Amsterdam must close their doors

Coffeeshops Amsterdam According to the Municipality of Amsterdam the large number of coffeeshops in the center of town create an infrastructure that encourages criminality. The City refers to such establishments as ‘crimogene‘ — a term used to describe functions that encourage ‘promotion or advancement of — or susceptibility to — criminality.’

The closures are part of the Coalition Project 1012, designed to spruce up downtown Amsterdam by — among other things — breaking the influence of organized crime.