Amsterdam eyes 'erotic centre' as new red light district

The Hague (AFP) –


Amsterdam is looking at moving part of its red light district indoors to an "erotic" complex where prostitutes no longer beckon customers through street-front windows that often attract rowdy tourists.

In plans released Wednesday, the Dutch city said the complex could include a bed and breakfast for prostitutes as well as a sex club, sex theatre and cafes.

Or the city famous for its canals will build a large hotel for sex workers.

"All in all, a prostitution hotel with indoor windows or an erotic centre is the most obvious choice," the Amsterdam city council said in a statement.

"These options have the most advantages and the fewest disadvantages," it said in the statement.

Amsterdam's mayor Femke Halsema has vowed to clean up the city's red light district as her staff complain that throngs of tourists, often drunk and rowdy, "disrespected both prostitutes and residents."

Halsema is also wants to fight a new trend, a "major increase in unlicensed underground prostitution" around the city centre's Wallen area near the central station, for centuries the haunt of sailors and sex workers.

Over the last few months, city officials have sounded out sex workers, business owners and others about how to reform the prostitution business.

"A number of scenarios were then chosen. This included the location of sex work spaces in our city," the council said.

For instance, "if the location is too remote, there is a bigger safety risk and it becomes more difficult to supervise it. Also, it must be easily reachable via public transport."

"Sex work is a normal job and the idea is not to chase prostitution from the city," the council said.

It said the two choices mooted are a sex hotel or an "erotic centre" which will be a "sex hotel plus, plus, plus."

The erotic centre will not just cater to pleasures of the flesh but also house a beauty salon, a hair dresser and a tanning studio.

The council said it hoped to finalise its plans before the summer.