The Red Light District is completely different at night than it is in the day. The tour rehashed the history of the sailor-serving district and again emphasized the tolerance of the world’s oldest profession in Amsterdam. We scurried through the area passing shops with everything including classy vibrators complete with an iPhone app, novelty animal shaped condoms and the most ridiculous fetish sex DVDs you could imagine. The women we passed soliciting deeds universally recognized by the fluorescent red light above their revealing windows were as varied as the toys in the shops. Any woman you could dream of claimed a spot in the infamous Red Light District; playmates to nightmares. But perhaps the most surprising variance in the area was in the spectators. Kid’s of all ages with their parents strolling along the canal just enjoying the nice weather and new experience.
It’s easy to tell the tourists from the locals because tourists are wide-eyed and tripping over the bumpy streets, while the locals speed by without second thought of the girls selling themselves on the street. I haven’t even started on all the sex theatres, peep shows or history surrounding the area, and trust me, all three are plenty available, because the best way to really know is to go yourself. So next time you’re in the area, swing (hah) by the Red Light District and take a look at something quite different than anywhere else in the world. Yes, there are red light districts in other parts of the world, but Amsterdam has THE Red Light District complete with smoky coffee shops.
Post-tour I went out with a few friends made during the tour including a couple Canadians (Rochelle and Eric), an American (another Eric), and a Lithuanian. We continued scouring the Red Light District for more fun and enjoyed experiencing a truly tolerant community.
(Please excuse the lack of photos. The ladies of the night prefer not to be photographed. We were told that unless we wanted to end up with a bucket of who-knows-what on our heads, it’d be better to keep our cameras stowed.)