Amsterdam Bans Red Light District Tours

by Jessica Montevago
Amsterdam Bans Red Light District Tours

Starting in 2020, all Red Light District tours will be banned. Photo:

Amsterdam will ban tours of its Red Light District, one of the city’s most popular tourist activities, beginning next year.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, group tours through the Red Light District will be prohibited, the Municipality of Amsterdam announced, saying the crowds “are not respectful towards sex workers.” The ban will also include bar crawls in the area.

According to The New York Times, over 1,000 tours pass through Oudekerksplein, the Red Light District’s main square, each week.

Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said in a statement that it was no longer appropriate to “see sex workers as a tourist attraction.”

Guided tours may still be given outside the Red Light District, but only if guides have an exemption and meet the city’s quality requirements. The maximum group size for guided tours will also be reduced from 20 to 15 people, and a small entertainment fee will be introduced.

The city government also said, beginning Apr. 1, 2019, tours in the Red Light District will not be allowed after 7 pm. The curfew is currently 11 pm.

The city has been grappling with an influx of tourists and has implemented several measures in order to reduce overtourism. A city of 850,000 people, Amsterdam welcomed a 19 million visitors in 2018.

Most recently, the city announced a day tripper tax for ocean and river cruise passengers. The tourist tax on rooms was raised last year, and more restrictions have been put in place when renting out Airbnbs.

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