Amsterdam erotic center to be built near RAI or NDSM Wharf; Red Light window closures unknown
The city of Amsterdam has narrowed its list of eight possible locations for an erotic center down to three. The remaining locations still being considered include De Groene Zoom near the RAI convention center in Amsterdam Zuid, Europaboulevard in the same neighborhood, and Docklandsplot on the eastern side of the NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam Noord. The city's political leaders have been working on either an erotic center or a prostitution hotel as an alternative to the Red Light District in De Wallen, the old city center, since 2019.
The proposed erotic enter will have 100 available spaces for sex workers, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The facility will also include space for social services and healthcare, security, and other hospitality, entertainment, education and cultural organizations. The city also said in the past that it wants sex workers to have a more professional work environment, including break rooms and safer access.
"Sex work is part of Amsterdam and will never disappear. But the situation in the city center is not sustainable," said Mayor Femke Halsema in a statement. The city leaders have been trying to make quality of life improvements in De Wallen by banning alcohol use on the street. They have also proposed a ban on smoking cannabis in public, and reduced opening hours for hospitality businesses and sex workers' windows.
The city said that windows in the Red Light District will eventually close for good. "We do not yet know how many this will be, when they will have to close and where they are located," Amsterdam said.
"The quality of life for residents has been under pressure for years due to the flow of tourists for whom the windows are only an attraction," Halsema said on Thursday.
The goal is not to reduce the number of permitted workplaces for sex workers. The city intends to move them to an organized location, hence the development of the erotic center. "We also do not want more sex workers to work in the less safe, illegal circuit."
The city said it chose the two locations in Amsterdam Zuid and the third location in Amsterdam Noord both for their accessibility and the facilities available in those areas. "The police see a reduced risk of nuisance and safety incidents, subversive crime, youth problems and drug trafficking in these three areas than in other places in the city."
The locations that were scratched from the list include areas around the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam Zuidoost, and others near the Sloterdijk district.
Amsterdam will not operate the erotic center. Once a single location is chosen, organizations will be able to bid for the opportunity to build and operate the facility. The city will accommodate the plan by issuing a long lease to the party that wins the bid process.
Residents will soon be able to submit feedback regarding the new shortlist. A final decision should be announced after the summer.
Reporting by ANP