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The Red Light District

  - 1 opinions

The neighbourhood that makes you blush

Translated by Beth Pearson — 3 years ago

Original text by Vir SN

Probably one of the marvellous city of Amsterdam's most appealing places.

Honestly, such a shame. I visited Holland for the first time last September, on the 5th to be specific; the same day that saw me born twenty three years ago. How I wanted to come and celebrate my birthday in one of Europe's most amazing cities, if not the most. That's not all either; we had our hostal in the heart of the Red Light District!

The neighbourhood that makes you blushThe Red Light District


Well then, as soon as you leave the central train station, you will be slobbering over the views and then it will happen to you again when you turn right and see the immense bicycle parking your view doesn't reach the end of. We wandered around for a bit before finding our accommodation, the Shelter City, the one with the little snail. We arrived and it seemed welcoming at first but it was already a bit uncomfortable to be there by the second day. We three, shared a room with thirteen other girls. In other words, we were sixteen in total. We didn't have any problems with those who weren't Spanish and we mutually respected one another; but oh dear, the ones from Iberian Peninsula! What a mess they made, the mothers that gave birth to them! Not only that but they said that the hostel personnel consented to it, so I don't know who is exactly to blame; some for having bad manners or others for lack of professionalism. The best thing about the Christian hostel (yes it was Christian, so you can read on the website, see with your own eyes when you arrive and read 'God bless you' all over it) was the interior patio, an enormous terrace with armchairs, a fountain and plants (it reminded me of bunches of grapes over our heads when we were having breakfast). Precisely the breakfast was also a point in favour of Shelter: one day eggs with ham and cheese, another pancakes and they made us a picnic of a sandwich, juice and fruit on the last day, as we left early. The portion was more than enough but even if you're still left slightly hungry, you can carry on eating at a reasonable price (I think they also serve food and dinner there). By the way, the wifi wasn't working and the accommodation’s four computers with internet were either occupied or slower than the snail that illustrates the entrance logo itself.

Returning to the Red Light District, we wanted to go in it but as soon as we stepped a foot inside, I at least wanted to run right back out. You can't begin to imagine the female degradation and humiliation that lives there. You walk through narrow alleyways where you can barely fit three pedestrians and you encounter practically naked women on each side, behind glass doors illuminated with continuously flashing red neon light. They were there; on foot or sat down on a stool, staring at you whilst blowing you a kiss or winking an eye. Some open the door and directly invite you inside. You don't want to look but inevitably you do and you're shocked to discover a bed and sink inside them. They are barely cabins of what? Six or seven meters squared? The worst of all wasn't them, it was the creeps that ate them up with their eyes or that stopped to talk to them even though they didn't want anything. The worst of all is to have to see a sticker saying 'taking photos is prohibited' on the left square of each window. Where are we going to end up? Where is the world getting to? Do they seriously need to point out that I can't take photos as if it were a bag on showcase to a woman being prostituted to later stick all over Facebook? See it to believe it. Morally and even physically uncomfortable, we immediately abandoned the Red Light District despite it having a really pretty canal and some precious streets to walk through but Amsterdam is full is canals and streets that are just the same, so we went on to discover.

The neighbourhood that makes you blush


Already night time, we returned to sight seeing and we had to come back through the Red Light District to get to our hostel. I really don't know what's worse - the day or night. If it affected me already in the sunlight, it was almost traumatic to walk there under the neon illuminations. The whole area turned the colour red and electronic blue. You suddenly discover that the prostitutes are also in the flats above; that there are two floors of woman in shop windows with fluorescent underwear to attract your attention. There is music playing loudly and the businesses found there are coffee shops, casinos, recreational and sex shows in general. In other words, Amsterdam's best known and most circulated neighbourhood is exactly what you would want to avoid in your home town.

Despite the 'bad experience', I recommend it. I believe that everyone should visit a place like this at least once, in order to be conscious of what makes the world go round and to weigh out if it's really worth it or not.

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