Where is red light district in amsterdam located
Where is the red light district in Amsterdam?

Here are the most common questions about the Red Light District:

Where is Red Light District in Amsterdam located?

The Red Light District in Amsterdam is located in the city’s oldest area, very near to the main train station Amsterdam Centraal and just next to Damrak (the main street).

Most visitors enter through here or Dam Square. The most “action” is situated around the two parallel canals Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

Essentially, Red Light District is a small Amsterdam neighbourhood consisting of two canals and some connecting alleys.

Visiting Amsterdam? Don’t miss our Ultimate Guide: The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary for Amsterdam

What Is The Red Light District In Amsterdam?

Red Light District is also known as De Wallen by locals. It’s named after the red neon lights that outline the many windows where women dressed in mostly lingerie do one of the oldest professions in the world – prostitution.

Prostitution has been legal here since 1810. It’s no surprise as Amsterdam is one of the most open-minded and progressive cities in Europe, if not the world.

Many sex shops, rowdy bars, sex shows, and smoked-filled coffee shops are located in the Red Light District of Amsterdam.

Where is red light district in amsterdam canal
Where is the red light district in Amsterdam? The famous canals

How did Red Light District in Amsterdam become the centre of vice?

The Red Light District evolved around the 16th century as nearby docks have seen many sailors returning to shore after months on the sea, looking for entertainment, nightlife, and a good time.

This is why the Red Light District is located on the top of the historical centre today.

It’s hard to imagine that back in old times, this was where the city finished and boats sailed in. However, prostitution became legal only in 1810.

On average, the women charge between €50 – €100 for their service which usually lasts 15-30 minutes or less.

Most visitors come to Red Light District in Amsterdam to satisfy their curiosity, others come to participate in what is on offer here.

Things to do and don’t do in Red Light District

  1. Do not take photos of the occupied windows! This is strictly forbidden and any attempt will be quickly stopped by security. Just don’t do it.
  2. Always be respectful to the sex workers.
  3. Look out for pick-pocketers. Red Light District gets busy in the evening so watch your stuff.
  4. Do not drink alcohol out on the streets, it’s prohibited.
  5. Don’t buy or try any illegal drugs and don’t buy anything from the dealers on the streets.
  6. If you are just after good nightlife, explore the Red Light District and then go bar hopping at Rembrandtplein or Leidseplein. These are much better areas for nightlife, as RDL might attract different types of people at night.

Attractions in the Amsterdam Red Light District

The Red Light District of Amsterdam is in the historical centre of the city, and it is close to many interesting attractions and architectural marvels such as:

Best Things to Do in Amsterdam

Brothel Tour – So, as you’re here reading about where is the Red Light District in Amsterdam, there’s a fascinating Brothel Tour with a Sex Worker Guide that I suggest you join. During the tour, you get to chat with an ex-sex worker and learn what it’s like to work in the sex industry. and discover the secrets and VIP rooms of one of Amerstam’s famous sex clubs.

Join a Food Tour – Amsterdam is a melting pot of culture and the cuisine is so much more than just deep-fried FEBO snacks and chips with mayo or curry sauce (although both are delicious).

Food Tours in Amsterdam usually start at 11 am or midday, so it’s the perfect activity to do after you’ve visited Anne Frank’s Museum and Van Gogh Museum in the morning.

I recommend this Food Tour in Albert Cuyp Market, or the Walking Food Tour of Jordaan District.

red light district amsterdam bicycles

Bike Tour – Discover the city like a local and take a bike tour! There are a few options to choose from. If you’re short on time, then this guided bike ride covers the city highlights. If you’ve got the time, I recommend this 3-hour Central Amsterdam guided bike tour.

Canal Cruise with Dinner – Enjoy an evening of fine dining on a 3-hour dinner cruise of Amsterdam’s canals. Depart from Centraal Station to see Amsterdam’s best sights while enjoying your choice of a 3-course meal with wine.

Take a Day Trip – There are too many to recommend individually, but if you’re interested in exploring the Dutch countryside, this list of awesome day trips is all you need.

Whether it’s windmills or stunning gardens you want to see or tasting Dutch cheese is more your style – there’s a day trip here that you’re going to love.

Get the I Amsterdam City Card

Amsterdam is a beautiful city and there are so many wonderful things to do here. If you’re planning to spend between 1- 5 days here to see as much as possible, then you should consider buying the I Amsterdam City Card.

It allows you to visit world-class museums and attractions for FREE, enjoy UNLIMITED access to Amsterdam’s public transport, and enjoy a FREE canal cruise.

Trust me, this card offers fantastic value for money as Amsterdam isn’t the cheapest city in Europe.

But if cheap countries in Europe interest you, then check out our post on the 10 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit this year.

Get Connected with eSIM

Get connected easily on your travels—buy an eSIM! An eSIM works like an app: buy it, download it, and get connected in minutes! It’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Keep your original phone number, too!

Click below and view which eSIM data plan you need for your next adventure. Use our referral code: RACHEL5045, to get $3 off your first purchase!

Where to Stay in Amsterdam

The best places to stay in Amsterdam are near Leidseplein, or Dam Square if you like to be in the centre of the city. This is close to bars. restaurants, and the top attractions. Amsterdam accommodation is expensive, there’s no way around it. It’s also good to know where is the red light district in Amsterdam as you probably don’t want to stay near it.

Also, you’ll find that many hotel rooms in the historic centre are very small. You could also stay away from the historic centre near the metro or tram stop and get a bigger or more comfortable hotel.

It all depends on your budget, but here are two suggestions below for well-located and comfortable hotels with good ratings.

Budget Accommodation: Hotel van de Vijsel – Great location, only 300 m from Leidseplein, near Vondelpark and museums. The hotel has excellent facilities with modern, stylish touches to provide a very comfortable stay for the price. Check rates from $330 p/night (I told you it’s not cheap).

Mid-Range Accommodation: Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Located in the heart of Amsterdam, situated on the edge of Dam Square. It is a top choice to enjoy a very comfortable stay in Amsterdam. Check rates from $380 p/night on Booking.com

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about where is the Red Light District in Amsterdam and other interesting places to see here. You will see that Amsterdam is unlike any other destination in the world, and that’s why I love to return when I’m in Europe.

As I mentioned earlier, my ideal 3 Day Itinerary for Amsterdam has everything you need for an amazing experience in this city.

And for the food lovers out there – this Ultimate Food Map of Europe is for you!

My best resources for travel anywhere in the world can be found on the Travel Resources Page.