Amsterdam bans tours around red light district

Amsterdam is to ban guided tours around its red light district from January 2020.

Currently more than 1,000 groups visit the area known for its brothels every week, with around 28 tours an hour every evening.

Amsterdam’s Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said it is no longer appropriate to see prostitution “as a tourist attraction”.


Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000, but for more than a decade Dutch policy makers, police and citizens have admitted it has failed to curb crime or protect women.

British author and anti-prostitution campaigner Julie Bindel said that under this regime, “trafficking and pimping has increased, organised crime is rife, and the women are not protected from violence”.

She added: “Most will have been trafficked by criminal gangs or individual entrepreneurs promising them a better life and the chance to earn a lot of money.”

Thomas Cook

In 2005, UK tour operator Thomas Cook launched late-night trips around Amsterdam’s red light district, open to people of any age, even offering families free tickets for under threes.

Bindel said that the tours offer “a sanitised version” of the brothels which are designed to mask the “huge influx of desperate, vulnerable women”.

Deputy Mayor Kock confirmed that the tours will be banned, calling them ‘inappropriate’ and ‘disrespectful’.