1 Dutch windows All about safe sex Most asked questions about Red Light District Including: A map of Amsterdam s Red Light District
3 Dear reader, In this magazine you can read all about the most famous part of our town: The Red Light District. You can find out everything you need to know about visiting a brothel, but also if you re just a curious tourist, this Pleasure Guide contains lots of interesting information. For those of you, thinking about visiting a brothel, the places that are mentioned have a good reputation. If you would like to know more, it s a good idea to visit the Prostitution Information Centre. Here you are welcome with all your questions. I hope you have a pleasant stay in Amsterdam Mariska Majoor 1 Colofon Chief editor: Mariska Majoor Dtp: Repro Design, Zutphen Illustrations: Jaap Majoor en Frans Mensink Pictures: Jan Kees Helms For permission to publish or print any information from this magazine you are requested to get in contact with the chief-editor at the following adress: Enge Kerksteeg 3, 1012 GV Amsterdam
4 Prostitution and the law in the Netherlands. 2 October 1, 2000, is a very im-portant date for prostitution in the Netherlands. From this date the old law prohibiting brothels is no longer valid. In this article we will explain a bit about the old and the new situation. The old situation: The previous time prostitution was regulated by law was in Since then it has been legal to work as a prostitute and legal for clients to visit a prostitute. But running a brothel has been illegal. However, the brothels were left alone, because attempts to close them proved to be unsuccessful. The authorities had to look for a more pragmatic way of dealing with prostitution. Brothels were tolerated as long as they conformed to certain rules like; not disturbing the public order, or if the police ran into minors or women forced into prostitution, they would close the brothel down. The new situation: Prostitution and running a prostitution business is legal as long as the people work voluntarily, are above the age of 18 and legal citizens of the Netherlands. From October 1, article 250a of the Criminal Code will apply. It s a criminal offence to: Force another person into prostitution; induce a minor; bring women in from another country for the purpose of engaging in prostitution; running a brothel where somebody who is forced or a minor is employed; and pimping. Prostitution is regulated by the municipal authorities. Now brothel owners must apply for a license. They have to operate under the following conditions to be considered for a license: There should be no disturbing the life of a neighbourhood. The municipal authorities can take measures to prevent any nuisance. They also set rules concerning the working conditions of the prostitutes, like regulation on the minimum size of the working areas, fire safety, hygiene and of course, safe sex. The phsysical and mental integrity of the sexworkers should be protected and the employment of minors and illegal immigrants is prohibited. If the police or other authorities find for instance a minor or an illegal immigrant in a brothel they can and will close the place down. Why is the ban on brothels being lifted? (source: Foreign Information Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) To end abuses in the sex industry, The Netherlands has decided to change
5 the law to reflect everyday reality. It will be legal to employ prostitutes provided they have reached the age of majority (18) and do the work voluntarily, but stricter measures will be taken to prevent them from being exploited. By legalizing the employment of prostitutes the government will be able to exercise more control over the sex industry and counter abuses. At the same time, firmer action will be taken against offenders. This approach is in the interests of prostitutes themselves, and it will also facilitate action against sexual violence and abuse and the traffic in persons. Prices and options in prostitution How much does it cost? Prices vary a great deal. Every prostitute has the right to set her own price. It depends on how long you want to stay, what he/she specializes in and the kind of place you go. You can count on one thing: condoms will be available everywhere. Window prostitution The window prostitute sets her own price; the minimum is 35 euro, usually. The customer can choose between a blow-job or a fuck. Don t haggle over the price, 35 euro is not a bad deal. More and more prostitutes pay income tax and they will ask a bit more, wich is only fair. Clubs Clubs have set prices and you pay per hour. The price ranges from 50 to 300 euro. Some clubs charge an entrance-fee. Drinks are normally not included in the price but you may find that the first drink is on the house or included in the entrance-fee. Private houses Private houses also have fixed prices; these range from 40 to 150 euro per hour.they almost never charge an entrance-fee and drinks are usually on the house. Escort service If you call an escort service to send a prostitute round to your house or hotel it will cost you between 50 and 250 euro per hour. They usually have special rates for a whole night. Check beforehand at the escort service you are using. 3
6 The most frequently about Amsterdam s 4 Welcome to the Amsterdam Red Light District Amsterdam s Red Light District is world famous and that is not surprising, because there are many unique attractions to see here! However just because it s the most talked about Red Light zone in the world, doesn t mean that everyone understands what goes on here. Unfortunately most people don t understand how people in the neigbourhood here live. They also don t realise that it is, besides being a tourist centre for the sex industry, also a regular neighbourhood precinct where so-called normal people work and live. The questions and answers that you ll find in this article, are a collection of the most frequently asked questions at the Prostitution Information Centre (PIC). If you still have any further ques-tions after reading this brochure you can visit the PIC. How long does this neighbourhood exist? The Amsterdam Red Light District already has existed since the year Only then they didn t call it that. This region is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam. Likewise, the Warmoesstraat is the oldest street in Amsterdam. It is one of the first streets that most tourists will encounter as they enter the Red Light District from the Central Station side, with an imposing billboard for Chickita s Sex Paradise, greeting them as they do...it is also a centre for the Gay leather scene! You can find one of the oldest houses in the city at the beginning of the Zeedijk.
7 asked questions Red Light District. Prostitution has always been here. In the Middle Ages prostitution was allowed in certain places in the city. For example the brothels in Damstraat used to be run by the sheriff and his men! Amsterdam has always had lots of travellers and seafarers passing through its port. In the 16th century prostitution underwent prohibition, although it continued to grow just the same. In the 17th century is when window prostitution appeared for the first time in this area, and this phenomenon actually arose from prostitutes parading their wares from behind the door or window of their own house. Is it safe to walk the streets here? Yes in the Red Light District you can just walk on the streets, without any worries, but nowadays as you have to watch out wherever you are, the same rule applies for the Red Light District. Keep an eye on yourself and your personal possessions, and preferably don t walk alone in any of the narrow little dark alleys after 4 o clock in the morning, and of course never display your money too openly. This naturally applies to anywhere you go, common sense really! Is it legal, all those women behind the windows? Yes it s legal. Working as a prostitute has been completely legal in the whole of the Netherlands since Window prostitution is tolerated in a total of 9 places, including Amsterdam. The total number of windows 5 To be continued on page 6
8 however has to remain constant by law. Is prostitution legal? In october 2000, abolition of the old law probihiting brothels will take place. That means that prostitution and also keeping a brothel, will be completely legal from that moment on and by law has to be fully respected as a profession in its own right. Whether society can come to accept this on an emotional level remains the question! What facilities exist for prostitutes to get a health check? In the Red Light District is a special STD clinic of the GG&GD (Public health service), where prostitutes, and their clients can go for an anonymous health check for venereal diseases. Of course in the Netherlands it s possible to go to a regular hospital or GP for a check-up; the fact that you let yourself get checked up from time to time is nothing to be ashamed of. Consistent condom use is actually much more 6 Who owns all the windows? There are different owners. If certain behaviour codes are followed, in principle anyone can buy a window brothel; the premises are definitely not cheap. The prostitutes who work there pay rent to the owner per shift; shifts usually varying from 8 to 12 hours. Depending on the owner, rents vary from 40 to 75 euro per shift. So prostitutes are thus small independent businesswomen. Are prostitutes required by law to get a regular health check? In that case, to be fair, all the clients should also let themselves be checked regularly too! Fortunately in the Netherlands it s contrary to human rights regulations to force someone to go to the doctor, so it s everyone s own responsibility. Most prostitutes of course take good care of themselves and consistently use a condom.
9 important than frequent or compulsory health checks. Are the prostitutes registered? No! The police aren t allowed to register prostitutes without their permission. They have to be at least 18 years of age and come from an EC country. They have to prove this by means of showing their passports, but the police may not make any note of it if all her papers are okay. Are there many prostitutes with AIDS? No, absolutely not! Just about all the prostitutes who work behind a window or in a club, take good care of themselves and their health and are consistent in their use of condoms. The stories that you hear about diseases among prostitutes in general and in the Red Light District just aren t true or often greatly exaggerated. The risk of catching something is minimal. But because you never know for sure, it s very important to always use a condom! Does everyone here in the Netherlands use drugs? No, but like in other countries you can get hold of them of course. The sale of soft drugs (cannabis) is tolerated in coffeeshops; sale and (ab)use of hard drugs is not tolerated there. Never buy drugs on the street. It is prohibited and also dangerous because you never know what you re buying and it s easy to get ripped off! Do all prostitutes use drugs? These days, a lot of people from all walks of life and all social classes use drugs, and there are certainly a great deal who don t; prostitution and drugs don t necessarily go hand in hand. It is a social misconception that all prostitutes use drugs and that they start working in prostitution to pay for their drugs; the proportion of drug-addicted prostitutes is in fact quite small. It seems as if anything is possible in Amsterdam!? Fortunately a whole lot is possible, but that doesn t mean that there aren t rules. People can be themselves here but are asked to take others into consideration and not be anti-social. In general the same rules of social conduct apply as in every other city or state in the civilized world. As far sex and soft drugs go it s more open and easy to speak about than in other countries; mutual respect is in fact always the most important thing. Are there just as many drug addicts and homeless on the streets elsewhere in Amsterdam? No, particularly in the Red Light District and around the Central Station area is the place where many addicts and homeless hang around. This area attracts people from all walks of life. The Red Light District is a neighbourhood where everyone is To be continued on page 24 7
10 Everything you always wanted to know about save sex. Despite the fact that safe sex gets so much publicity, there are still many people unclear about it. Here are the five questions most frequently asked about safe sex in prostitution Do you need a condom for a blow-job? Yes, you should use a condom for blow-jobs too. The aids-virus is carried by sperm and blood, and other venereal diseases are transmitted through the fluids that precede sperm or the mucous membranes. 2. Is it safe to go to a prostitute? Everyone has to make up their own mind about that. You don t really have to worry as long as you always use a condom and make sure that it is put on properly. 3. Is oral sex dangerous? The vaginal fluid of a woman with HIV does not contain much of the virus. Be careful around and during periods. Any other venereal diseases, such as herpes, are catching from the stage when sores and scabs are visible. If you want to be on the safe side use a cloth for protection. 4. What do you do when a condom breaks? Don t panic, although it might be best to go to you docter or the local clinic for a check-up. They will probably want to test you again later because some sexually transmitted diseases can only be diagnosed some time after infection. 5. Do prostitues get checked for venereal diseases regularly? On the whole, yes. Most clubs and private houses employ a doctor who checks the prostitutes for VD on a regular basis. Prostitutes can also go to the GG&GD for a free check-up. A truly professional prostitute always uses a condom and, as a result, almost never gets infected.
14 Column prostitute The Pastaparade While I m writing this it s raining and the streets are empty. Summer is definitely over. I m thinking in particular of the large number of tourists received by Amsterdam every year. 12 The stream of people flooding the Red Light District seem to think it is a great big Zoo and like to record it all in snapshots, on film or video. Very sad, I think. Still, in spite of all the sightseers, summer is very good for trade. August, for instance, is the Italians holiday season. For men aged between 18 and 30, Amsterdam is a favourite place to go on holiday, to get a taste of the tolerant policy on drugs and, of course, to enjoy the ladies of the nigth. They stroll around in small groups, enveloped in clouds of hash smoke, admiring our girls. It s a good thing they want to do more than that and almost always step inside. The average Italian pays fifty guilders. The speed with which he reaches his climax and is out of the door again is truly amazing. Quite often I will get three of these customers - one at the time, you understand - and it boils down to undressing, screwing and dressing in space of 15 minutes. Most of my colleagues don t like them because they re either stoned from the hash or they re wired from the coke or so, either way, there is not much to be done with them. Personally, I don t have a problem with it. I m always glad to see them mainly because they bring me new customers. When you ve had one, the rest of the group follows automatically. This is fine by me, but a lot of colleagues prefer customers who stay longer and pay more, rather than a string of quick ones for fifty each. This doesn t make a lot of sense to me. I mean, if you think fifty guilders is no good you ought to charge more. Madelon Do you have a story what fits in our column, put it on paper and send it to the Redactie Pleasure Guide p/a Enge Kerksteeg GV Amsterdam
15 Column costumer There I was, head in the clouds, feet planted on a slippery platform and my heart with her. She was going to arrive by train from Rotterdam at At last we had a date. The idea was hers. I was going to show her how beautiful Amsterdam is. I met her in The Hague. She had been standing there, so innocent, looking at me so sweetly. She was so pure. After a couple of times all I wanted was to love her. Both of us having a good time as equals. She was different from the other girls as well. She still knew the value of money, hadn t been spoiled. She was educated and had consiously decided to go into prostitution. She really was the perfect woman: sweettempered, intelligent, independent, beautiful, cheerful and so on. She was special, right? She d said to me how important it was for her to have a special tie with a client based on mutual trust. Three more trains had arrived from Rotterdam. I d looked for her all over the place without catching so much as a glimpse. The fourth train arrived. I was reeling by then, heart-broken, tears of anger and disappointment in my eyes, feeling utterly desperate. She had been leading me on, and I fell for it like a stupid git. No. She s not like that. Maybe something happened to her. What to do? Out of spite I went to the Red Light District. I didn t really feel like it, but what can you do. I had the day off work anyway. And then I saw this gorgeous girl. I d seen her before but hadn t gone in, because it seemed to good to be true. She looked lovely and warm. Her big eyes comforted me, my tears dried and I went inside. She asked me where I was from and I thought she meant What have you been doing?. She was very sympathetic, her sweet face sonsoled me and her lips closed around my erection. The 100 guilders soon became 150. It felt so good that I became completely calm again. Prostitutes are just wonderful and men are extremely lucky. I would have liked to keep her with me forever. I offered to stay till 6 o clock if she would go out to dinner with me that evening. She already had a date. The 150 guilders became 300. She lay down next to me. It had been so relaxed. And she was so beautiful, so sweet. I might ask her out sometime. At least I won t have to wait for her at the station to show up, she lives in Amsterdam. Without having an orgasm, I m back on the streets. What do I do now? 13
16 Amsterdam Red Light District
17 = Windowbrothels Prostitution Information Centre/Jaap Majoor Tel
18 Dutch windows There is nothing like strolling around and doing a bit of window-shopping. Especially when you re checking out all sorts of beautiful women. This is about the best windows in the netherlands. 16 Amsterdam: The capital s red light district (the Wallen ) is well-known internationally. It attracts crowds of tourists every year. There are roughly 350 windows on the Wallen. More than 1000 women of 58 different nationalities work there in shifts. (Don t forget there are lots of little alleys.) The Wallen are situated in the oldest part of town, between the Zeedijk and the Warmoesstraat. In addition, there are two areas on a smaller scale: between the Spui-straat and the Singel, and on the Ruysdaelkade. Den Haag: In the Geleenstraat you can find windows. The Geleenstraat is partly roofed-in and it is widely known as the best place to go. Two other streets, the Doubletstraat and the Poeldijkse straat are not really worth mentioning. Haarlem: The window-brothels of Haarlem are within walking distance of the station. There are some windows on the Begijnhof, in the direction of the church. There are two more areas that are definitely worthwhile: het Poortje and het Steegje. You have to pay a small admission fee to get into het Poortje ; het Steeg-je has only a couple of windows and you can just just wander in. Alkmaar: The Achterdam in Alkmaar has about 40 windows of a fairly recent date. The Council does not permit prostitution to spread out into the rest of the area, so the owners decided to build extensions in their backyards. The result is a maze of corridors, covered alleyways and windows. Utrecht: This place has a unique feature. The window-brothels of Utrecht are situated on a long row of houseboats along het Zandpad. You can either drive past in your car or make a complete circuit on foot. Follow the signs Utrecht-Centrum and then head for the place where the sky is luminous with the headlights of cars that just happened to drive past the houseboats.
19 Breda: Officially, there are no window-brothels in Breda, but what they do have is a very unusual erotic arcade, on the Haagweg just outside the town centre. It consists of a long, wide, covered passageway with window-brothels. You have to pay to get in, but apart from that, everything works just the same as in other red light districts. Other towns with window-brothels: Arnhem: Spijkerkwartier Groningen: The Vishoek/Hoekstraat/Muurstraat area as well as the Nieuwstad Leeuwarden: De Waeze Deventer: De Bokkingshang The client s Guide A visit to a prostitute passes even more pleasantly if you take the following rules into account. 1. Be polite and respectful. 2. Take care that your body is fresh. 3. Do not drink too much. 4. Make clear agreements. Be clear about what you want and find out what the price for that is. 5. Take into account that the prostitute has her own limits. Kissing on the mouth is often not possible. 6. For vaginal and oral contact always use a condom, for anal contact use an extra sturdy condom. 7. Be relaxed. Sex is the most normal thing in the world. Do not expect too much and keepyour head. It is not a love affair and, however pleasant the contact is, remains professional. 8. A contact can be less than succesful, often through unfamiliarity with each other. Take this into account and don t be disappointed. Possibly pay a visit to another address - or a cinema - and just leave if you don t like it. 9. Remain reasonable in a situation where conflict arises and leave it for what it is. Absolutely do not demand your money back. If you think you have good reason to be dissatisfied and if it s possible, have a word with the management. lo. Create as little inconvenience as possible for the surroundings. Neighbors appreciate their sleep and are ready not interested in your sexual experiences. Source: Stichting Man/Vrouw en Prostitutie 17
20 CHAING MAI Longest established Thai massage in Amsterdam Barndesteeg 9 Amsterdam (Centre) Red Light District open 7 days a week from till hours
21 SCHIPHOL LOVE CLUB 52 Aasmeerderdijk 52, Oude Meer (bij Schiphol Oost) Tel Open: Monday till Friday private from till hours. The club is open from till hours.
22 Tips for costumers 20 Prices: The price that you pay for contact with a prostitute can vary from business to business. Guidelines for prices you can find elsewhere in this Pleasure Guide. Window prostitution: Window prostitutes work independently and set their own price. Prices are expected to rise now that all prostitutes are liable for income tax. It is not an easy transition to make, and it will be appreciated if customers don t make a fuss. Private houses: A private house is different. You don t pay a door fee. A private house is more discreet and is advantageous for those who don t want to have any contact with other people; there is no bar and soft music is only played in the rooms. You are usually brought to a seperate room after which the women introduce themselves to you one by one. You make your choice and go with her to a room. In some houses you make your choice from a photoalbum. You get something to drink in the room, and at most places you can take a shower or a bath. Clubs: A club is a brothel and comparable to a cafe. The prices are fixed. Having to pay more in one club than in another does not mean it is better. To many people, the advantage of a club is that you have the feeling that you re in a cafe (luxurous or not).the prostitutes sit at the bar or elsewhere in the club and you can make a choice at your ease. If you want to go with a specific woman to a room, she takes you and can tell you who you have to pay. It is sensible to ask the person opening the door for you about prices and such when you arrive. Take your time to make a choice, but if you hang around the bar too long they are not going to take you seriously. Feel free to ask for the manager if you have anything special in mind. Escort: When you phone them up, you can ask about prices and choices. When you call a good escort service, the person answering will tell you everything in detail. They usually ask for Useful terms French: Russian: Greek: SM: Trio: Safe: Without: blow-job between the breasts anal sex sado massochism a threesome with a condom never!
23 your telephone number and call you back right away. Try to be as clear as possible about the kind of woman or man you want to meet. Ask them what happens if the prostitute they send is not your type. A number of agencies also offer the possibility of hiring good compagny for an evening out, a tour, or dinner. She is brought by a chauffeur who you usually pay. At the end of the agreed time, she is picked up again. In general: Prevent misunderstandings by straightening out the details of the deal beforehand. You don t have to bring condoms along, the prostitute will provide them. For every prostitute there is a limit to what he or she will do. Respect this and don t push it. The first time If your first sexual experience is going to be with a prostitute, you want it go smoothly. Here are some useful tips. Your first sexual experience is the most important in your life, or so they say. There is something in that. But why should you save it for the love of your life. You can decide for yourself when you want it to happen, whether you re in love or not. The number of men and boys who have their first sexual experience with a prostitute is considerable. Some parents personally introduce their son to the red light district. Or Uncle might treat his little nephew to a club visit to break him in. Here are some tips to help you make a succes of that first time. You have to be at least 16 to have sex with a prostitute. You don t have to prove your age, but remember that doormen and prostitutes are not easily fooled. If you get in because you look old enough but you re not, it could get the prostitute or club in trouble. Don t feel embarassed about your lack of experience. Just tell the prostitute that it is you first time. She ll make it easier for you. You can also ask her if you can try certain things, but sort it out before you start. Find out if there s anything she won t do. Window prostitutes sometimes charge To be continued on page 23 21
24 22 Enge Kerksteeg GV Amsterdam Tel information about the Red Light District and prostitution in general for everyone
25 for everything separately. In clubs you pay a fixed rate per hour. Don t rush into anything. Take a good look around first, talk to some of the women. You are not going to select a partner for life, but since it is your first sexual experience, you might as well share that with someone you really like. Don t be under any illusions; she is just doing her job. Even though it is your first sexual encounter and your probably free of any sexual transmitted disease, you should not ask the prostitute to do it without a condom. Both of you are at risk, remember? By the way, you don t have to bring any condoms with you; prostitutes always supply them. You may feel tempted to have a few stiff drinks beforehand, but it s not a wise move. Prostitutes can t stand customers who are drunk, or even tiddly, and besides, an overdose of alcohol does not exactly help your performance. We have been referring to male customers and female prostitutes. But, of course, the same goes for women who have their first sexual experience with a male prostitute. So far, men very rarely work behind a window, you will find them in clubs. If there s anything else you need to know, feel free to stop at the Prostitution Information Centre or give us a call. Anyway, have a good time! 23
26 generally accepted for who they are. As an addict or homeless person it s not easy to find a place where you re accepted, so it s not so surprising that you come across them in such numbers here. What kind of people live in this neighbourhood? Rich and poor, as just mentioned this neighbourhood attracts people from all walks of life. There are people who were born here and live here all their lives, aswell as people who find it an exciting place to live. Even students like to live here very much. People who aren t born here generally don t hold out for more than a few years. Just think of all the noise that the tourists make at night...! prostitutes in the Red Light District take good care of themselves. To catch something while using a condom, you ve really got to do your best! Is working as a prostitute dangerous? In principal no. Of course it depends on the individual. If a prostitute has a 24 What should I do if I am robbed? Go immediately to the police. You won t always be successful in getting your property back, but it s important for the police to know what goes on in the area anyway. You don t really need to be scared that a prostitute is going to rob you, since it s only a small group that makes a habit of doing this. Always listen to your intuition in such matters. What happens if a condom breaks? Above all, don t panic. If you re worried you can get tested for STD s after a few days have passed, an HIV-test has little point at this stage. But you need not worry, pretty much all the
27 problem she can push the alarmbell and help will arrive immediately. An alarm system is a standard feature in just about every (window) brothel in the Netherlands. Can you take photos in the Red Light District? It s not forbidden to take photos in the Red Light District, but it is an unwritten law in the neighbourhood that you don t. For many years tourists have taken photographs of prostitutes without their permission, and this has led to a lot of irritation and even fights! In any case it s very impolite to take a photo of someone unasked, especially in this area; better to leave your camera at home or in the hotel, or only take photos of the windows from a good distance away. Don t ignore this because some people can react quite strongly! You will often see stickers in the windows that say no pictures. Can prostitutes refuse clients? Of course they may! Generally speaking prostitutes work independently and the same applies for them as for you: Nobody has the right to touch you or in any way invade your private space if you do not want them to. Do all prostitutes have a relationship? Prostitutes are just as much women as women who don t earn their living in this manner. For every woman the same answer applies: some do and others don t. It s not really easy to have a good relationship as a prostitute, for obvious reasons. As a woman, can you also take a look at the prostitutes as you walk down the street? Of course you can. Most prostitutes are well aware of the fact that they serve as a tourist attraction. The important thing is that you show them respect and you project that to them. Please don t stand with your nose up against the windows, stare or make fun of them in any way. Also be careful you don t stand directly in front of a window with a group of people while you look at something else, as you will be obstructing them in their work.(don t forget they have to be visible to potential clients) How do I make contact with a prostitute? If you see someone who you want to make contact with, just walk up to the window. If the prostitute wants to, she will open the door and you can ask her what you want, and she will probably tell you. If for some reason she doesn t want to open the door that s her right and you can just walk on. What is the average price for a visit to a prostitute? Most of the prostitutes who work behind the window have a flat rate fee of 35 euro. Because a lot of prosti- To be continued on page 26 25