Amsterdam Red Light District (De Wallen)
The Red Light District is best explored on foot or by bike. Walking tours (or group pub crawls) typically provide a deep-dive into the neighborhood’s history and culture, while bike tours offer a broader overview of Amsterdam and allow you to visit the Red Light District and attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum or New Market Square.
Depending on your preference you can choose to visit by day or by night, when the district is especially lively. Some tour options also include admission to popular attractions such as the Sex Museum, Madame Tussauds Amsterdam, or one of the Netherlands’ legendary coffee shops.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Although the area's once-dangerous streets are now much more welcoming, be aware of your surroundings as pickpockets are still common.
Sex work is legal and regulated in Amsterdam.
Taking photographs of sex workers in the windows is strictly forbidden. If you do, you may find yourself fishing your camera out of a canal.
Nearby, the commercial thoroughfares of Warmoesstraat and Zeedijk are filled with shops and restaurants.
The Red Light District is wheelchair accessible but some of the neighborhood's attractions may not be.
How to Get There
Also known as De Wallen (the Walls) or De Walletjes (the Little Walls), Amsterdam’s Red Light District is located just south of Centraal Station. While guided tours allow you to avoid the hassle of navigation, it’s also possible to arrive via tram or bus. The neighborhood itself is easy to explore on foot.
When to Get There
You can visit the Red Light District year-round; don’t forget your rain jacket if you’re headed there during winter. Arrive after dark to see the area’s bustling nightlife or explore the neighborhood's appeal by day and see a different side to the Red Light District.
The famous laid-back Dutch attitude is very prevalent in the Red Light District, especially in the form of cannabis and sex work. While smoking marijuana is illegal in the Netherlands, it is widely tolerated, and you may purchase or possess up to five grams. You may be surprised that this carnivalesque neighborhood is also where families, young couples, and senior citizens reside and socialize.
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