In Touring on Wednesday 27th Mar, 2019

Netherlands bans popular tourist activity

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Amsterdam's city council is banning a popular tourist attraction. Source: Getty

Tourists will no longer be able to flock to one of Amsterdam’s most-visited and beloved attractions.

The Netherlands’ capital is banning all tours of its famed red light district in a bid to restrict the increasing crowds of tourists in its historic city centre, and because “[they] are not respectful towards sex workers”.

More than 1,000 tour groups pass through Oudekerksplein, the red light district’s main square, each week, with a peak of 28 groups per hour between 11am and noon and between 7pm and 8pm. The red light district is known for its brothels, sex shops and numerous prostitutes standing in red-lit windows.

The ban comes after four out of five sex workers polled in a recent survey said the tours have a negative impact on their client turnover.

“Tours along the prostitution windows cause a lot of bustle in the Red Light District and are not respectful towards sex workers,” the government said in a statement last week.

The red light district is known for its brothels, sex shops and numerous prostitutes standing in red-lit windows. Source: Getty
The red light district is known for its brothels, sex shops and numerous prostitutes standing in red-lit windows. Source: Getty

The ban, which comes into effect on January 1, 2020, includes pub crawls and guided walks. Until then, tours of the red light district will be prohibited after 7pm from April 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, the maximum number of people allowed on tour groups — which will still be allowed in other parts of the city — will be reduced from 20 to 15. A new tax on tours will also be introduced and guides will be required to have a council permit and quality check.

A guide who offers the tour illegally will face a fine of €190 (AU$300).

Have you visited the red light district before? Do you think the ban is a good idea?

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