Red Light District Amsterdam – The Ultimate Guide

Half-naked and beautiful girls in red shop windows. The smell of sin is drifting through the alleys. A traditional corner pub here - a live sex show there. Is this how you imagine the Red Light District in Amsterdam?

Keep left from the main train station – this is where the red-light district starts

Generally, you are bang on target!

Amsterdam’s Red Light District (De Wallen) is very close to the central train station. The banks of the parallel canals "Oudezijds Voorburgwal" and "Oudezijds Achterburgwal" attract millions of pleasure-seeking tourists every year. Here you will learn what you need to know for an exciting tour through the Red Light District. And what you should avoid!

Red Light District Amsterdam


Oudezijds Voorburgwal, Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Around the Oude Kerk (Old Chirch)


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Just like on the Hamburg Reeperbahn, not all visitors are perverse or potential clients. There are also couples watching a sex show together, or bachelor parties at strip clubs. Establishments such as the legendary "Bananenbar" attract customers with neon signs - tingling eroticism for every taste.

Prostitutes offer their services in these brothel windows

Non-binding sex at affordable prices. This concept has been a guarantor of good business for centuries. In the narrow alleys of the Red Light District, you will find all imaginable (and unimaginable) types of sexual services. The ladies usually charge between 50€ and 100€ for 20 minutes.

These are the rules of the Red Light District:

  • We recommend visiting after sunset – the Red Light District comes to life after 8 pm.
  • No photos! - The bouncers and ladies might get very irritated, and your camera will end up in one of the canals at best.
  • Please do not disturb if the curtain is closed in a red brothel window – the lady is busy.
  • What does a blue light in the shop window mean? – It means it is a transsexual prostitute.
  • Treat the ladies with respect – it is free to look. Only touch them with consent - and in return for cash.
Tip – Book a guide

During a guided tour you can discover the highlights in the Red Light District with the eyes of a local. Friendly guides, insider information, and fair prices - we recommend the 2-hour guided tour offered by Get Your Guide. Buy tickets online.

Next up: Route to the Red Light District, The Best Strip Clubs, Sex Shows and Pubs - Our Tips.

Your Tour Recommendations

How do I get to the Red Light District?

From the main train station, you can get to the Red Light District in no time. As a reference point, you can always keep an eye on the "Oude Kerk" (old church). It is located in the middle of it. You can recognize the narrow, ornate tower if you look slightly to the left from the main train station.

Click on the picture to activate the map

Leave the main train station, go straight ahead and cross the large crossing (Prins Hendrikkade). Now turn left and cross the bridge, about 50 meters. Do not follow the main road now but walk straight ahead into the narrow Nieuwebrugsteeg Follow the alley until you reach a canal - this is the "Oudezijds Voorburgwal."

The perfect route through the Red Light District

All you have to do is walk along the Oudezijds Voorburgwal until you reach the Oude Kerk. This is where the Red Light District begins. The other main canal in the Red Light District is the "Oudezijds Achterburgwal".

The two canals run parallel to each other. So, you can simply walk for a bit, cross a bridge and walk back along the parallel canal - and there you have the perfect route through the Red Light District. Our tip: Explore the narrow alleys between the canals - maybe you will discover a surprise or two. Show route on the map.

Next up: The Best Strip Clubs, Sex Shows and Pubs.

The Best Strip Clubs, Sex Shows and Pubs – Our Tips

Of course, there are endless tourist traps within the Red Light District. Generations of sailors have dropped their last guilders in the panties of strippers. Still, it is worth the fun. We checked out the best bars, strip clubs and sex shows for you.

Highlights of the Red Light District - click to activate

The Old Sailor - authentic pub: The best sailor joint in the Red Light District. The pub is packed in the evening, and you will quickly find new contacts with other visitors. Fair prices, nice staff - perfect for a cold beer before you head off to the Amsterdam nightlife. Oudezijds Achterburgwal 39-A, at the bridge towards Oude Kerk.

Bananenbar – entertaining strip club: The legendary strip bar is a witty mix of half-naked girls, tourists, bananas, and alcohol. At the entrance you pay 60€ for one hour, drinks included - a good deal for fast drinkers. The special show with the bananas costs extra. The banana is included in the price. Oudezijds Achterburgwal 37.

Sex Palace – peep show: Here you pay 2€ for 2 minutes in a cabin. The cabins are arranged in a circle around a round stage. You can enjoy the show of the dancers through a peep window. Peep shows are part of the history of Amsterdam's Red Light District. You should definitely have fun while it lasts. Rumor has it that the Sex Palace will close soon. Oudezijds Achterburgwal 84, 1012 DT Amsterdam.

Sex Palace - Peep-Show at the Red Light District

La Vie en Proost – lap dance bar: Our insider's tip. The strip club is hidden in a narrow, red-lit alley. The entrance fee is only 5€, but the drinks are sinfully expensive. Pretty girls undress between the guests and on the bar, except for the panties – here you will enjoy a real red light feeling. If you want to see one of the girls naked, you have to pay 20€ for a lap dance. Bethlehemsteeg 23, 1012 JA Amsterdam.

Cannabis College – all about weed: There's not much to see at first. Glass showcases with information material and a cozy sitting area. However, if you talk to the staff, you get accumulated knowledge about the green crop. You can also try a vaporizer as an alternative smoking method. In the basement, you will find the cannabis garden. Here you can learn everything about breeding and growing under artificial light – it is fascinating to see it live. Oudezijds Achterburgwal 124.

Casa Rosso – live sex show: In these shows, couples have live sex on stage, and beautiful women perform erotic stunts. You are sitting on a bench, watching like in the movies. The Casa Rosso is one of the better shows in Amsterdam. Tourist trap or sexy entertainment? You have to decide for yourself whether the 50€ is worth it. Our opinion: if you are already in the Red Light District, you might as well watch a show. In any case, you will always remember that evening. Buy ticket here (skip the line). Oudezijds Achterburgwal 106-108.

You cannot miss the pink elephant

Casa Rosso
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Red Light Secrets Museum: One of the most notorious brothels in the red light district has been turned into a museum. Red shop windows and slippery exhibits - everything was left in its original condition. Personal stories give you an authentic insight into the work of a prostitute. Buy ticket online. Oudezijds Achterburgwal 60.

Red Light Secrets - Photo: © Resul Muslu

Red Light Secrets Museum
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That was our tour through the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Do you know any more good shops, or have you been to the Red Light District? Do you have any tips for other travelers? Then write us a comment below.

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