Finally the question, “But what should I do in the Red Light District?” has an answer.
After all, most people do not want to visit a prostitute. The Erotic Museum is skippable. The live sex show at Casa Rosso is not for everyone. The strip show, La Vie en Prost, is not exactly world class and has little appeal for most women. So people usually walk through the Red Light District and then walk out.
But now there is an interesting little museum/destination. Red Light Secrets is a pro-prostitute, yet not sugar-coated look behind the scenes in the red light district. It is located on the prettiest canal in de wallen, the Oude-zijds Achter-burgwal (OW-de zides ACH-ter-burg-val), which is Red Light District’s main street. At €7,50, the price is right.
You walk through different rooms where sex workers ply their trade and read their stories. A short movie gives behind-the-scenes glimpses of places like the neighborhood laundry (the attendant wisely puts on gloves to handle the linen), and the hardware store which (naturally) has fluorescent red lights in stock. Meanwhile, baristas shuttle coffee and pastries to the working girls.
One interesting experience is to sit in a made-up window and watch (and be watched by) the passing parade. This is strangely satisfying. Another is to see a movie of people walking past a window and stopping and staring and leering at you, the prostitute. This is more off-putting.
An interesting video of dancers doing choreography in red light windows highlights the issue of trafficking and the foreign women were offered a job ‘dancing in a club’ before ending up in the windows. Indeed, the verdict is still out on how much freedom the working women have. Obviously some prostitutes are trapped in debt and drugs, but then again so are many people who aren’t prostitutes. The museum unhelpfully puts the amount of forced prostitution in the Red Light District at ’10-90%.’
At the end you can write down your own secret or fantasy. The most interesting make it on their wall of confessions.
€7,50 and lasts about 30 minutes. Open daily 12pm to midnight.
Skip the line with your Priopass.
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Oude-zijds Achter-burgwal 60. Walk from Dam through the Dam-straat and turn left on the second canal.