Senay Boztas

Who wants Amsterdam’s mega brothel on their doorstep?

A prostitute in Amsterdam's Red Light district (Credit: Getty images)

Amsterdam’s red light district is an uncomfortable place for a woman to walk at night. Drunk tourists from all around the world wander the streets, leering into the red-lit windows where prostitutes rent a space and ply for trade.

Thanks to years of problems, the city’s residents are demanding action. The local government coalition was elected on a plan to roughly halve the number of sex worker windows, and to move them to an ‘erotic centre’. But there’s a problem: no one wants it on their doorstep.

At the city’s NDSM Wharf on Monday evening, the letters EC (‘erotic centre’) were set on fire. This Docklands site in north Amsterdam had been shortlisted to host what will be Europe’s largest brothel. On Tuesday, a decision was finally made as to where the EC should go; the Wharf’s residents can breathe a sigh of relief: the mega brothel will, in fact, be located in the south of Amsterdam on Europaboulevard, a well-to-do district a stone’s throw from the RAI conference centre. 

Irate locals will have little choice about her new neighbours

House prices in the nearby residential neighbourhoods are, according to one estate agent, amongst the highest in the capital, at up to €9,300 euros (£8,100) per square metre. People like Cynthia Cournuejouls, who chose to settle her family in the Rivierenbuurt, are livid. ‘You will be making a new tourist magnet for the kind of tourists that you just don’t want’, she said.

But it seems her and other irate locals will have little choice about her new neighbours. ‘The location is in a strong, socially-resilient neighbourhood compared with other researched locations in the city’, said the press release announcing the location of the brothel. ‘It is outside the A10 ring road and easily accessible by public transport and car. It will be easy to connect to existing events and visitor streams…and the nearest homes are on the other side of a wide road.

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