Amsterdam to clean up its act

Dec 17th, 2007, 12:24 AM
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Amsterdam to clean up its act

Recently a gang of Turkish criminals were arrested for forcing women into prostitution - forcing them to have breast enlargemnet operations, abortions, beating them with baseball bats, then forcing them to take ice baths, and keeping them locked up. This is currently the truth about the RLD. The council have, at last, had enough.

Last night the Amsterdam city council announced a major plan to clean up the city.
Tens of millions of Euros are to be invested in the red light district. The "windows" will be closed in most of the streets. Protitutes must be over 21 and they, and their pimps, must be licensed. There will be a couple of small zones left for the ladies. The number of drug dependancy units will be reduced, so that there are less junkies in the area. Shops and cafes, now owned by criminal organisations and used for money laundering will be taken over and done up. Housing will be created above the shops, making it a safer place at nigh. The whole of the Damrak and Rokin will also be included in this projct. Hotel Krasnapolsky is investing 120 million Euros in a refubishment project, which will include an underground car park, and is also contributing to the general funds for this project.
The idea is to make what should be one of the most attractive areas of the city just that.
The plan will be carried out over the next 10 years, with the help of major investors, including banks, C and A, housing assosiations etc.

Many of you will know that I am no fan of the RLD so i can only say hooray, about time, and I look forward to seeing the results.
hetismij is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 01:03 AM
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Thanks for posting this. I was tired of hearing the propaganda that all was well in the RLD - that wasn't my perception from my brief visit.
WillTravel is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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And about the effect of loss of tourism the Mayor was the 'rowdy British tourists are not that important'

we'll see.

amsterdam hopefully won't become too gentrified and boring

mayor apparently is for confiscating some premises proved in drug money laundering etc and selling them as fancy condos or offices

so a tradition in this part of Amsterdam since time immemorial - the sailors' quarter may finally come to an end

don't think so

he also wants coffeeshops downsized and in fact there are less than half now than a decade ago i believe.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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I don't know that it should be one of the most attractive parts of the city. DO you mean historically? Regardless, it won't be if it is a street of prostitutes, no matter what.

Now I am surprised that they didn't have to be licensed before, if I understand what you wrote. I thought that was the whole idea in the first place, that it was legitimized there and thus they had to be licensed (and that health exams were required regularly, which could only be enforced if licensed/registered, whatever you call it).

Christina is online now  
Dec 18th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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there are vest-pocket and quite discrete 'redlight' areas around town besides the mega one that has become a tourist sight

maybe they'll become like say the smaller one on Niuewendijk (sp?)

And talk is cheap
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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Soon there will be a Gap, Banana Republic and Starbucks on every corner.
tamjam is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 05:09 PM
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Wow. Interesting to think that an attempt to provide some protection to women who didn't choose this 'occupation' equates to a gentrification on the level of building a Starbucks.
Travelnut is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 08:55 PM
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Glad to hear that Amsterdam is finally doing something about its most pathetic and infamous attraction. Good riddens, there are better ways to attract tourism in place of prostitution and drugs.
DAX is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 09:20 PM
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How anyone could think of Amsterdam as "gentrified and boring" is beyond me, Pal. Just a walk on those uneven pavements will keep it from being "boring" forever.
Dukey is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 11:20 PM
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The idea is not to gentrify the area, it is to remove the criminals who currently run it. That will inevitably lead to the closing of windows, coffeeshops and cafes, not to mention all the tat-selling souvenir shops that cannot possibly be making a living.
Housing will be created - but at an affordable rent for people who work in the city.
The ladies will still work, but under more controlled circumstances, and in zoned areas, still within the Wallen.
In the Netherlands Prostitution is legal, but only brothels must be licensed. The windows are "rented" to the ladies and so don't count as a brothel.
The junkies who now occupy the area are to helped, in the same wat they were helped in Utrecht where they previously occupied the station and Hoge Catherine Shopping centre. They will be registered, so that new ones aren't attracted, given rooms, so they are no longer homeless and issued with heroin so they don't need to buy it or steal. They will be helped to get jobs. It worked in Utrecht so no reason it can't work in Amsterdam.
The Wallen are an historically interesting, and potentially attractive part of Amsterdam, and I truly believe this project can only be a plus for the city.
There will be no Starbucks on every corner, anyone who has been to the Netherlands will have noticed the lack of Starbucks here.
And if all this it means less drunken British tourists then so much the better.
hetismij is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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Hopefully like stretches of some canals like Prinsengracht the old facades will not house offices and bureaus.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 19th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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Sounds like a good idea IMHO. We absolutely LOVED our visit to Amsterdam, but we avoided the RLD. Such a beautiful walking city, which seemed so clean and so friendly. We found great restaurants there, too. This sounds like a good thing for the city.
Dec 19th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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Many folks it seem though they all say they thought Amsterdam was a beautiful city saw it as kind of sleazy

and i think appealing to more upscale tourists rather than drunk rowdy Brits and the drug tourists are part of the plan

that's why i said become too gentrified and boring - though the alternative life styles that were rampant in Amsterdam when i started visiting there regularly on business in early 70s is gone i hope something that will make Amsterdam unique remains

that said i don't cotton to the idea of a red-light district though i find it a curiosity i can find few other places.

prostitution will not go away and never has anywhere = currently the city has zillions of escorts, men and women.

Gay tourists is leaping because perhaps of the many 'boy' escorts and clubs, etc. And this type of tourist, often well-heeled is indeed the type the city seems bent on attracting, giving the bum's rush to the many European rabble who flock here every weekend for the non-stop party and legal soft drugs.
Energy shops were closed this year (magic mushrooms that were sold legally) and the number of coffeeshops are less than half they were a decade ago. When the original licensee of a coffeeshop dies the shop goes since i understand these licenses cannot be transferred ever but go back to the city who leaves them unfilled - ultimately all coffeeshops will go

that though is impossible due to what seems a large local approval of such places, at least for locals though the soft drug tourists who flock here may find their shops are gone. There has been talk of permitting only Dutch citizens in coffeeshops but such a rule would run afoul of EU law apparently so they cannot do it.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 09:54 AM
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hetismij, I'm a bit confused by the information you provided. Can you clarify a few things.

First, its been my understanding that the Wallen was one of the cheapest places for Amsterdamers to live and rent flats. I met many younger people who do just that.

Don't you think if the city cleans up the area that the Wallen will simply become another extremely expensive area of town to rent a flat?

Second, from your post it sounds like the Mayor wants to leave the windows but just exert more control over who rents them, etc.

If that's the case then the RLD will simply be more controlled rather than outlawed.

But, I must say, the general drift of A'dam is to clean up its act. Within the last year I believe sales of mushrooms were made illegal.

One last comment: The RLD in the Wallen is mostly or completely for tourists. There are, however, many smaller, less well known areas for locals. For that matter, nearly every city in NL has a RLD.

I think the Mayor's heart (and head) are in the right place. It is difficult seeing Amsterdam completely erase its tolerance for sex and drugs however.
ruechapon is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 09:58 AM
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I am not sure what happened with the mushrooms, but there were some terrible, horrendously violent incidents linked to their consumption, so I can see why Amsterdam might want to get out of that business.

With the RLD, there seems to be real concern that women are being imported from poor countries and basically enslaved. So I don't think that cracking down on this means that Amsterdam has become anti-sex.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 12:39 PM
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The wallen are being cleaned up - the window closed, the sexclubs too.
Prostituion is legal, and yes there are other areas used by locals within the city. These will be more strictly controlled.
The Wallen will become/is already becoming an area for artists and designers. The idea is to let out the "windows" to young artists, fashion designers and the like. It is the intention of the city to buy the buildings, or if necessary seize them as proceeds from crime.
It is the intention to make the architecture and area open to all, so that anyone can happily enjoy a (potentially) lovely area of the city.

Most prostitutes in Amsterdam, as elsewhere are trafficked and controlled by assorted maffia types, often from Russia, but also of course the locals.
Amsterdam will not become anti sex nor anti drugs just yet. Pressure from outside is increasing upon the Netherlands to change it's drugs laws however.
As far as I know fresh mushrooms are still available. it is notsomething I am interested in so i can't say for sure. I know the government wanted to ban them following a few terrible events involving young visitors to A'dam who died as a result of taking mushrooms. One young French girl apparently threw herself off a bridge whilst under the influence, for instance.
hetismij is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2008, 12:48 PM
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hetismij, thanks for the update. Last I heard was that mushrooms were not sold anymore after the French girl jumped out of (pushed out of?) a window. That incident followed closely on the heels of two other deaths by tourists while on mushrooms.

You are very correct that there is outside pressure on NL to stiffen its drug laws. This pressure is coming from the EU and more particularly from France.

Ironically (I guess) the pressure from the French has had an opposite effect. The Dutch seem to resent French interference and on account of it this has delayed toughening Dutch drug laws.

I'll be in A'dam very soon and can report back on the mushroom situation....if anyone is interested.
ruechapon is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:22 PM
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Mushrooms of the magic variety are indeed readily available and seemingly legally sold in Energy Shops in Amsterdam. Though i did not imbibe i went in some mushroom emporiums just to see what they were like inside.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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I heard that they already passed a law that if you are not a resident, than you cannot purchase any drugs, even just one brownie--is this true or is it merely being debated?
goferfan512 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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Currently is not the situation or was not a few weeks ago

i've heard this too but it seems one solution someone proposed but no one is taking seriously

especially other EU countries as i think the EU Constitution may have something to say about that restriction.

Locals i talked to in Amsterdam seem to think that though the number of coffeeshops will continue to dwindle (down by more than half in the past decade as permits once they lapse apparently are not given out again) everyone says they are here to stay

the idea of limiting them to only residents sounds sensible perhaps but a nightmare to enforce i think and then just force the cannabis dealing back onto the street with deletrious effects
PalenQ is offline  

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