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What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Amsterdam? Maybe it’s the many cultural attractions like the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, or Rijksmuseum? Maybe it’s entire stores full of cheese? Maybe, but probably not. Don’t get me wrong, those are great, but admit it, you’ve been at least a little curious about the Red Light District. As of this year, there is finally a place where you can answer all of your burning questions about the Red Light District, without any other burning sensations. 😉
So join me for a little sex education at Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
After a 10 minute film about the history and current state of prostitution in Amsterdam, we take a glimpse behind the red curtain for a Madonna heavy look what prostitutes wore throughout the last 100 years and it’s influence on mainstream fashion.
Then, a firsthand look at what if feels like behind the red lights.
Perhaps the most depressing part of an otherwise rather objective museum is a look into a “Peeskamer”, the typical office of a Red Light District prostitute.
Small rooms like this are typical in the Red Light District and prostitutes rent them for about 150 Euro for half a day. Maybe this is my prudish American sensibility talking, but it’s already a depressing job, it’s seems a shame to start off in the hole. (Yes, I read it… but I’m just going to leave that there.)
The Peeskamer is also where we learn Anna’s story, and it’s a real downer.
It was good to get that one out of the way early, because next we moved into the Luxurious Brothel Room. This is where I learned that I have remarkably similar taste in decor as a high class hooker.
That wallpaper! That Mirror! I could live here. I’m not even a little ashamed to admit that I want this lamp for my house.
Rooms like this are found outside of town in brothels. Unlike the peeskamer, customers here are charged based on the amount of time they spend here so the rooms are made as comfortable and inviting as possible. Here a customer can expect to spend a minimum of 75 Euros up to several thousand.
This is where we learned Eva’s story. Eva is a little more uplifting than Anna.
As I suspected, it’s hard to be too down on life when you have peacock wallpaper.
While it may be quick money, prostitution is not very sustainable and doesn’t offer much in the way of a retirement plan. So what’s a poor prostitute to do when she’s past her sell-by date?
Turns out as you get older, the stuff you do has to get a bit weirder. That’s what I learned in the S&M room.
There’s even some retro bondage.
And because sex with strangers isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, now we get to hear from Kelly.
Now another chance to get ogled in a window!
Now, in case you were planning on hitting the streets and putting your new education to good use, here’s a few tips in biblical format.
While most of the museum focuses on taking the taboo out of prostitution and looking at the realities of the worlds oldest profession, it is important to note the risk. Ever since the days of Jack the Ripper, prostitutes have been catnip for murderers. Now we move into the “in memoriam” section.
Serial killers are not the only dark side of prostitution. While many of these girls end up here of their own accord, there is a certain faction being forced into it.
Even with prostitution being legal in Amsterdam, it’s a hard thing to regulate.
Here’s a harsh reminder that prostitution is not as widely accepted in the rest of the world. The celebrity wall of shame!
Now my favorite part of the whole museum, the lost and found! There are some photo IDs in there, so I guess this is a bit of a wall of shame as well.
That must have been a weird night. I hope someone charged extra.
Of course this is Amsterdam, I think there’s a local ordinance that requires every building have at least one wall dedicated to Van Gogh.
Where better to get information on prostitution that from the whore’s mouth? (sorry, couldn’t resist)
Now the final and most popular part of the museum. The wall of confessions. This is an interactive wall where guest (mostly) anonymously confess to lewd acts that will make your life seem pretty dull. They are certainly not suitable for publication, so this part you will have to visit Red Light Secrets and read for yourself.
You may want to stick to Anne Frank House for your “what I did on my summer vacation” paper, but Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution is certainly worth a visit while in Amsterdam. It’s only 7.50 Euros to enter, a short walk from the train station, and easy to get through in less that an hour. It’s easy to squeeze a visit in between your more wholesome Amsterdam activities.