After nine years in operation, the Amsterdam Underground tour - started by the De Regenboog Groep, an NGO that works with homeless people - will now be in the hands of the formerly homeless guides who have lived the experiences the tour aims to illuminate to tourists. De Regenboog made the decision to form a cooperative for the four current volunteers to own the business and have full control of their narratives.
The first meeting to discuss the future of Amsterdam’s Red Light District was met with disagreement and polarizing opinions on Wednesday evening at the Compagnietheater, the 18th century former church that sits in De Wallen. The meeting, organized by Mayor Femke Halsema, gathered residents, sex workers, and entrepreneurs who will be affected by the proposed changes for the area.
Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam is currently exploring various options for a new prostitution policy in the Red Light District. One of the options she is considering is closing all the window brothels in the area, NU.nl reports.
According to the mayor, the situation in the center of Amsterdam increasingly "dire" due to the continuing suspicions of human trafficking and the growth of unlicensed prostitution. "It forces us to put the prostitution policy on the agenda again", she said in a letter to the city council on Wednesday.
The Amsterdam city council approved a ban on guided tours in the Red Light District. The ban will be implemented on January 1st, Het Parool reports.
A novel new attraction will soon be opening in Amsterdam. Multi-sensory adult cinema 5D Porn is opening its doors in the Red Light District. A world first, according to owner Nathalie.
Amsterdam will ban guided group tours along the window brothels in the Red Light District, the city announced in a press statement. The municipality is currently working out how to legally implement the ban.
Mayor Jim Fouts of the American city of Warren is facing criticism about statements he made about a trip to Amsterdam. Speaking about the Dutch capital's Red Light District to an employee 2013, he apparently boasts that "you could get a 16-year-old girl if you wanted to".
Amsterdam Ombudsman Arre Zuurmond wants to implement an age limit for visitors to the Red Light District, he said in a report on nuisance in the area. He believes that keeping children out will help reduce the problems in the area. He did not give a specific minimum age a child must be before being allowed to enter the Red Light District, AD reports.
Amsterdam coalition parties GroenLinks, D66 and SP want to move prostitution out of the Red Light District by issuing new prostitution permits for areas outside the city center. They hope that this will relieve some pressure on the busy city center, and make sex workers' lives easier and safer. But not all sex workers are pleased with his idea.
The court in Amsterdam convicted seven out of eight men for public violence for their role in a brawl in Amsterdam's Red Light District which ended in the death of 32-year-old Robert Gerritsen two years ago. The court ruled that the blow that ended Gerritsen's life was made in self defense, and 22-year-old Romanian Mirci M. was therefore not punished for it, RTL Nieuws reports.
The municipality of Amsterdam is preparing experiments with three boat-related measures to see if they can reduce inconvenience for residents and business owners in the crowded city center. The first is a pleasure boat ban on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal in the afternoon and evening, AT5 reports.
An increasing number of prostitutes working in Amsterdam's Red Light District are struggling with debts, that can range from 10 thousand euros to 30 thousand euros, newspaper Trouw reports based on its own research.
No total overview is available, but the debt problem is large, three Christian organizations that support prostitutes in the Red Light District - the Salvation Army, Scharlaken Koord and Bright Fame - confirmed to the newspaper.
Amsterdam is implementing cleaning breaks in the Red Light District during busy nights. Parts of the street will be temporarily be closed to the public, so that the mess left by visitors can be cleaned up. This is one of the measures new mayor Femke Halsema is taking to quickly solve problems in the overcrowded Amsterdam city center, following damning reports by the city's ombudsman, Het Parool reports.
At night the Amsterdam city center devolves into "lawlessness" to such an extent that the police can no longer handle it, Amsterdam Ombudsman Arre Zuurmond said to Trouw. The police confirmed his findings to the newspaper.
After multiple complaints from local residents, especially residents around the Red Light District and Leidseplein, Zuurmond decided to rent a home in the Red Light District to experience the situation for himself.
Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam is making an "ultimate attempt" to convince the lower house of Dutch parliament to hire more police officers. She is discussing this matter with Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security, the Telegraaf reports.
Halsema toured Amsterdam's Red Light District during the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the newspaper. She denies that there is complete "lawlessness", as Amsterdam's ombudsman Arre Zuurmond said in previous reports. "But it is true that there are far too few enforcers and officers."
Amsterdam Red Light District Tour is releasing an app with which tourists can tour through the popular district on their own, with the help of virtual guide 'Sophie'. The company hopes that this will help reduce problems caused by tourists entering the district in groups, Het Parool reports.
The app costs 4.49 euros for iPhone and 4.99 euros for Aindroid. It includes a 2 hours long tour during which Sophie will take you past 31 stops, from Schreierstoren to the Nieuwmarkt. During the tour, Sophie talks to 22 experts and people who work in the neighborhood.
The municipality of Amsterdam's ambitious project to clean up the city center only partially succeeded, the Amsterdam Metropolitan's Court of Auditors said in a report about the project. The Red Light District is still marred by crime and human trafficking, according to the court, NOS reports.
Project 1012, named after the postcode of the old Amsterdam city center, launched almost ten years ago under the initiative of then alderman Lodewijk Asscher. The intention was to breathe new life into the city center.
The city of Amsterdam implemented stricter rules on guided tours through the Red Light District on April 1st. These rules are intended to reduce crowds in the busy area, and to help protect sex workers' privacy.
From now on all tour guides giving tours to five or more people must have a permit. This permit costs 111,40 euros and is valid until January 1st, 2020, regardless of when it was issued, according to AT5. Tour groups are now also limited to no more than 20 people.
My Red Light, the sex worker-run window brothel that opened in Amsterdam's Red Light District in May last year, is facing financial difficulties. The brothel can't find anyone to rent its rooms over day due to the municipality's strict rules on who can rent the rooms, and strict screenings on sex workers who work there, board member Marcel Heyman said on Facebook.
Amsterdam police chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg is annoyed at a number of supermarkets in the Red Light District, that bought extra beer and liquor to sell to English football supporters who came to the Dutch capital to watch the Netherlands vs England practice match. These supermarkets did not take their responsibility to prevent drunken football hooligans rampaging through the city, according to him, Het Parool reports.
British football association FA released a statement condemning English football fans' behavior in Amsterdam around a friendly match between the Dutch and English teams on Friday. Around 100 British football fans were arrested in the Dutch capital on Thursday and Friday, mostly for disrupting public order, according to RTL Nieuws.
Most of the arrested supporters have since been fined and sent home, according to the broadcaster.
The municipality of Amsterdam is taking extra measures to manage the crowds of tourists expected to visit the city over Easter weekend. Last Easter weekend 20 to 25 percent more tourists visited the Dutch capital than the year before, Het Parool reports.
Extra trams will run during Easter weekend, from March 30th to April 2nd. Lines 1, 2, 5, 5 and 9 will run on an extended timetable. The city will advice visitors with cars to park on a site on the outskirts of the city, and to use public transit from there.
The measures the Amsterdam municipality is taking against crowds in the city center are not reducing problems for residents, Amsterdam Ombudsman Arre Zuurmond said in a new report. The inner city is "a jungle at night, in which survival of the fittest applies and in which the government is intolerably absent", the Ombudsman said, Het Parool reports.
Metje Blaak, former sex worker and a candidate for 50Plus in the Amsterdam municipal elections, wants to charge an entry fee of five euros for the Red Light District. According to her, this is an effective way to reduce crowds in the area and to make sure that sex workers aren't driven away, the Telegraaf reports.