A Sexscraper? Here are Amsterdam’s plans for a new Red Light District

Amsterdam’s iconic Red Light District is notorious for attracting millions of tourists to the capital’s streets — but the city has grown tired of it. Their solution? A skyscraper.

More specifically, a skyscraper located nowhere near the original De Wallen neighbourhood.

A new ‘Erotic Center’

Ask any Amsterdam local about their feelings towards the Red Light District, and they’ll probably begin lamenting the good ol’ days before waves of drunken tourists plagued its streets.

READ MORE | History of Amsterdam’s Red Light District: the intriguing past unveiled

Comprising just one square kilometre, the historic neighbourhood attracts a lot of unwanted behaviour from tourists to the area, and many residents are sick of it.

As a result, the city has come up with a plan to pull some of this traffic elsewhere — a skyscraper brothel (a sexscraper, if you will).

READ MORE | 15 dang smart things Dutch people do

By creating a new “Erotic Center”, the city hopes to both increase the safety of sex workers and reduce footfall (along with late-night drunken singing) in the densely packed streets of De Wallen.

What on earth is an “Erotic Center”?

You may be wondering what exactly an “Erotic Center” would even look like — and no, it can’t be found on an anatomical drawing (sorry guys 😉).

However, there is a blueprint.

Amsterdam has already commissioned and crowned its favoured design for this potential new “Erotic Center.”

Designed by Moke architects Gianni Cito and Jurgen ten Hoeve, this skyscraper offers a lot more than just rooms.

The design would consist of not only hotel rooms but also bars, restaurants, stores, entertainment facilities and even offices.

With a design like this, Amsterdam’s Mayor Femke Halsema wants to draw not just potential clients to the building but also culture-lovers.

She hopes to make this new Red Light District a cultural centre where debates, artistic courses and exhibitions can be held. On top of this, she wants to make it a safe space for LGBTQIA+ members of the community.

READ MORE | Why is Amsterdam’s Red Light District red? The answer is, well, kinda gross

With its circular design and continuous walkway, the building would also allow patrons to walk continuously throughout the building, much like if they were walking down a street — pretty cool, right?

Well… not exactly. 😬 This red light-alternative is being hit with backlash for a number of reasons.

Where will it be located?

The city’s plan is simple: With De Wallen currently consisting of 241 rooms, Amsterdam’s current plan is to take an unspecified number of these rooms and relocate them to this new building.

However, there’s just one problem — no one can agree on where this sexscraper should be placed.

According to the municipality’s website, there are currently three potential locations under consideration:

  1. The Docklandsplot location by the NDSM Wharf (Amsterdam Noord)
  2. De Groene Zoom
  3. or Europaboulevard (both in the Zuid/RAI area)

Residents of these neighbourhoods were asked to prepare their response to this idea, meetings were held — and people weren’t happy.

Residents spoke of their worries about the safety of their neighbourhood, accessibility issues and even parking.

And it’s not just the residents who are unhappy.

What about the safety of sex workers?

Sex workers are also worried about the potential relocation.

While Mayor Halsema claims that a move to a secure and more private building would be better for sex workers’ safety, many beg to differ.

Yes, De Wallen is crowded, but sex workers find that there is safety in numbers.

Where Halsema argues that the crowds deter potential clients from reaching the workers, the workers point out that the crowds also deter crimes against them.

Speaking to Time, one sex worker voices her opinion:

“The mayor says we need safe working places. We already have them. She says, ‘you are humiliated there.’ We don’t mind, otherwise we wouldn’t be in the windows.” 

The worker tells Time that “we have been consulted, but not in a serious way.”

A problem for next year

Much like many of us at the end of a long hard year, the municipality of Amsterdam has decided to shelve this problem until the new year.

According to their website, the city council will make a decision on the final location of the new centre in early 2024.

What do you think of Amsterdam’s plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Before becoming the Senior Editor of DutchReview, Sarah was a fresh-faced international looking to learn more about the Netherlands. Since moving here in 2017, Sarah has added a BA in English and Philosophy (Hons.), an MA in Literature (Hons.), and over three years of writing experience at DutchReview to her skillset. When Sarah isn't acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her trying to sound witty while writing about some of the stickier topics such as mortgages and Dutch law.

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