The push to reinvent Amsterdam’s image as a tourist attraction continues to gain momentum. A majority of the councillors in the Dutch city have agreed to close the brothel window’s in the famous red-light district.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema proposed that a significant number of the windows in the narrow alleys found near the docks be shut down. The sex workers in De Wallen red-light district will be given the opportunity to relocate to a complex specifically built for them elsewhere in the city.
Halsema’s latest proposal has been welcomed by a large swathe of Amsterdam’s political players, according to The Guardian. His earlier proposal to ban tourists from purchasing cannabis from city cafes, however, has not taken off because of fears that it will encourage the illegal drug trade.
The CDA and ChristenUnie have lobbied for the closure of the windows for quite some time and they can now count on the support of VVD, the party of Dutch Prime minister, Mark Rutte. The Labour Party and Green Party are also in favour of the move.
“This is about a reset of Amsterdam as a visitor city. Tourists are welcome to enjoy the beauty and freedom of the city, but not at any cost,” said the Labour party’s Dennis Boutkan.
Diederik Boomsma, of the CDA, added: “We have to intervene firmly.”
Halsema argues that the brothel windows must be closed because the women working in the area had become a tourist attraction, which has resulted in gawping and abuse.
Red Light United, a lobby group for the sex workers, claimed that 90% of 170 female sex workers it spoke to when the idea was first proposed, wanted to work in the windows.
“Relocating those workplaces is not an option because then the customers will not know where to find the sex workers,” said a member of the group, anonymously.
“Will Halsema also sometimes organise bus trips for them to the Westelijk Havengebied [a district north of the city centre]?”
Most councillors, however, feel that the relocation is necessary in order to reinvent Amsterdam and the type of tourists it attracts.
Picture: Wikimedia Commons