Best time to visit Amsterdam

Red Light District in Amsterdam 2024

Marijuana, prostitutes, erotic shops, and even theatres—the place is able to satisfy any unspoken desires or mere curiosity. And though most think so, the district is not only about sex and stuff

Best time: April–June | September–November (all year round)

Red Light District
Red Light District

Drugs and prostitution are legal in the Netherlands, and Red Light District found in the capital may be treated as the most tolerant part of the whole country. It offers all imaginable and unimaginable pleasures from cafes and restaurants, and coffee shops with mushrooms and cookies to sex houses and theatres where you can see erotic shows, including people literally making love on stage.

De Wallen is the very heart of the district. Its dark alleys are lined with over 300 sex-rooms. Scantily clad women will be watching you from every window parlour at the shadow of red light. A good option is to join a tour led by a guide. An expert will show you all secret walkways, and cosy places with best local food (tasting is included). As a bonus, you'll find out interesting historical facts about how it all began in Amsterdam.

Although most tourists associate the district with red lights and prostitutes, and not mistakenly, it still has much more to offer. Whereas De Wallen comes to life at night, during the daytime you're welcome to discover historical landmarks of the district. In fact, it's the oldest part of Amsterdam dating back to 13th century. Ironically, next to the houses of pleasure, you may discover the famous oude kerk, the city's oldest church. Besides, the area is home to a variety of museums.

The tours operate all year round, just note that the area may be really crowded in summertime. Winter is known for dismal and dreary weather, so the best time is considered March–May and September–November. Also take into account, great tourist inflow is observed during soccer games time.

Practical info

When is the ideal period to visit Amsterdam's Red Light District?

The best time of year to visit Amsterdam, including the Red Light District, is during the spring months of April to June or during the fall months of September to November. Visitors can expect more pleasant weather and lesser crowds compared to the peak summer season. However, weekends during soccer games can be more bustling, so it is good to be aware of that. Show more

Are prostitution and drugs legal in the Red Light District?

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and the Red Light District in Amsterdam is renowned for its liberal attitude towards it. While drugs are technically illegal, some substances like marijuana are tolerated under specific circumstances. Visitors to the Red Light District can experience its variety of services, ranging from dining to sex houses and coffee shops to theatres as long as they maintain caution and awareness of their safety. Show more

Which district location is considered the Red Light District's center?

De Wallen, known as the Red Light District's heart, is located in Amsterdam's oldest part, established in the 13th century. Characterized by its dark alleys, over 300 sex rooms line the streets, featuring women in minimal attire observing passersby through windows. For a unique experience and a chance to sample local cuisine, visitors may find guided tours by knowledgeable experts suitable for showing them lesser-known sightseeing locations and hidden retreats within the Red Light District. Show more

What is the minimum age to visit Amsterdam's Red Light District?

For visitors to the Red Light District, the minimum age is 18 years, as the area is not recommended for minors due to some of its establishments and services. The coffee shops and sex houses in the district offer adult-oriented activities that may not be suitable for younger individuals. Visitors also need to ensure they follow the area's regulations by abstaining from disruptive behavior and photography of the sex workers. Show more

What are some other places to visit, apart from the Red Light District's attractions?

Apart from the sex industry focus, the Red Light District is home to an array of museums, cafes, and restaurants. It features several landmarks like the 14th-century Oude Kerk and the National Monument. Daytime visitors can explore the nearby Dam Square, which features the Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk. Additionally, there are art museums like the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, both located a short distance from the Red Light District for art enthusiasts to explore. Show more

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