What’s going on in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is considering moving part of its red-light district indoors. ECP coach Kez gives more details.

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WEP Amsterdam

Read and check you understand this vocabulary before you read and listen to the text:

rowdy: noisy and disorderly

to vow: to solemnly promise to do something

throngs (of): large, densely packed crowds of people

haunt: a place frequented by a certain type of person

scenario: a proposed sequence or development of events

risk: a dangerous situation

to cater to: to try and satisfy a need or demand

tanning: exposure to ultra-violet light darkening the skin

to bar s.t.: to prevent or prohibit s.t.

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Clean up of red-light district planned

Amsterdam is considering moving part of its red-light district indoors to an “erotic” complex where prostitutes (sex workers) no longer welcome customers through street-front windows that often attract rowdy tourists.

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

The Amsterdam city council said the two choices suggested would be a sex hotel or an “erotic centre” which will be a “sex hotel plus, plus, plus”.

“All in all, a prostitution hotel with indoor windows or an erotic centre is the most obvious choice,” the 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 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 asked 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.

The erotic centre will not just cater to pleasures of the flesh but also house a beauty salon, a hairdresser and a tanning studio. The council said it hoped to finalise its plans before the summer.

In further news regarding the cleanup of the red-light district, the mayor, who is understood to want to reduce the number of outlets selling cannabis, also announced her intention to examine how they may reduce the attraction of drug use to tourists.

According to a survey by Amsterdam’s research, information and statistics office, a third of foreign tourists and nearly half of Britons would be less likely to visit the city again if they were barred from buying cannabis in the coffee shops.

Adapted from these articles, Red Light Disctrict  and Buying Cannabis, by ECP coach Darren Kurien

Let’s chat about that!

Write your opinions in an email and send them to your ECP coach!

Have you ever been to Holland? Did you enjoy it? Why (not)?

Do you think that “sex work is a normal job”? Why (not)?

What is your opinion of sex and/or drug tourism?

Do you think the measures mentioned will reduce tourism?

Will that be good or bad for Amsterdam? Why?




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