Amsterdam could get a giant ‘erotic centre’ complete with prostitutes, beauty parlours and a glass ceiling under plans to ease pressure on the Red Light District.
Mayor Femke Halsema unveiled the plan on Monday after consulting with sex workers, tourists and locals on ways to rid Amsterdam’s most notorious neighbourhood of ‘nuisance’ tourists.
The other option is the creation of a smaller ‘sex hotel’ which would allow guests to book online in order to reduce foot traffic.
Halsema said her preferred option is the creation of an ‘erotic centre’, which would have everything the Red Light District currently has but in a self-contained space.
The five-storey building would contain rooms for 100 sex workers, along with restaurants, hairdressers, beauty parlours and tanning salons.
A sex club and erotic theatre could also be added to the building, Halsema said.
The interior of the building would be ‘high quality’ with rooms opening on to a central courtyard which has ‘proper yet intimate lighting’.
The roof could also be made of glass ‘for daylight or looking at the stars’.
Locations for the new centre have not yet been discussed, but Halsema said she favours an inner-city site which is close enough to draw in tourists but not so close that people still crowd the area.
Halsema stressed that neither plan will replace the current Red Light District, but will give visitors another place to go to reduce crowds and problem behaviour.
The plans were narrowed down from a list of of five that were developed during a city-wide consultation on the Red Light District.
City councillors will be allowed a vote on the issue in the summer, Halsema said.
Councillors have already voted to ban tours from passing the Red Light District windows, touring past 10pm and lingering in choke-points such as narrow bridges from April 1.
She is the latest in a long line of Amsterdam mayors who have tried and failed to curb the problems of ‘mass tourism’ in the Dutch capital.
The number of visitors to Amsterdam has risen consistently for the past decade, with 18million people taking a trip there in 2018 – a figure that is set to rise to 50million by 2030, or 50 times the current population.
Past proposals have included banning tourists from visiting the city’s famous cannabis cafes, though these have been repeatedly shelved over fears they will drive too many people away.
Tourism is worth an estimated 82billion euros per year to the Dutch economy.