Amsterdam’s Red Light Secrets Museum is One you Won’t Forget
It even bills itself as the most exciting museum you will ever visit… We’re just not sure what type of excitement that would be.
The Red Light Secrets Museum offers a dip into the world of prostitution. As many of us know, Amsterdam legalised the world’s oldest profession so that the whole system could be regulated. Although this might seem seedy at first glance; it offered women who never had any rights or protections the same working equalities as everyone else. The women in the windows in Amsterdam aren’t beaten for their earnings. They don’t report to a controlling overseer who robs them under the premise of keeping them safe. They don’t live in fear of starvation… That’s why Amsterdam has a better system than anywhere else in the world. Say what you want about prostitution, but the Dutch do it in a way that makes it a viable career instead of a last resort
If this sort of article isn’t your type of thing then please do head on over to Lilly likes and find something better suited. We have a smashing article about the Vrolik Museum that gives a creepy change of pace. We also write about nice things, like Vegan Junk Food, so don’t be too alarmed.
Anyway, let’s forget about the politics of the situation and focus on the location at hand. Whether you think it is right or wrong – the Red Light Secrets Museum exists. If you are going to pass judgment on it then it is only fair that you go visit it and see for yourself, first. So let’s take an in -depth look and find out what’s going on behind this particular set of closed doors…
Behind the Scenes of the Red Light District
The most important thing that the museum does is to educate people. The profession of prostitution is very much misunderstood in western culture. In eastern culture things are even worse; but the west seems to look down on ladies of the night. As time passes and people are becoming more liberal, these are the kinds of attitudes the museum hopes to phase out.
So what can you find in the Red Light Secrets museum? A behind-the-scenes look at what goes on after the curtains go down. Essentially, prostitution in Amsterdam is a big show to make some cash. The Museum educates you about what goes on at the end of the day, when the window is closed or when the lights go off.
The museum seeks to answer pivotal questions that will dispel some of the mystery behind the glitz. How much do the women (and nowadays, the men, too) of Amsterdam make from standing in the windows? What else do they have to do and who decided what they do? Can they turn clients away? What type of people would resort to using a prostitute in the first place?
If these are things you want to know then absolutely go behind the scenes at the museum. It will entertain and enlighten you, as well as giving real accounts from real working women, that will tell you exactly how it goes down
The exhibits inside this building go beyond the art of prostitution and show you glimpses of why the Amsterdam system works so well. One of the audio tales, for example, is from a Russian prostitute named Inga.
Inga worked in Germany as a prostitute before she fled to Amsterdam. She had to run away because she was not a prostitute by choice. In Germany, she was forced to work by a ‘pimp’ who was essentially just an abuser. Inga moved to Amsterdam and set out on her own. Now she has no pimp, makes and keeps her own money, and only chooses the clients that amuse her.
If that’s not empowerment, then we don’t know what is. Inga has chosen her path. Admittedly, it isn’t one every woman would choose, but it is one that she turned to her advantage. She has a great life now, only answering to the shop that owns her window.
The Red Light Secrets Museum definitely shows the flip side of what you always thought was a sort of last resort. Here in Britain, women prostitute themselves out of desperation. They do it because Universal Credit doesn’t kick in for five weeks and the kids need fed. They do it because, like Inga, a man convinces them it is all they are worth. It is enough to break your heart.
In Amsterdam they took it away. Maybe not all of the women in the windows want to be there – but they aren’t being abused. They aren’t struggling to eat, and they aren’t there out of desperation. They are there because they are beautiful, and vital, and free. If only the rest of Europe would catch up.
Audio tours to hear Inga’s story are available in German, Italian, French, Dutch and English.
The world’s very first prostitution museum includes 12 audio stories in total, some of which will shock you, some of which might make you cry. Whatever impact it has on you, you are 100% guaranteed to come out of there with a new take on the whole area. You will never look at a prostitute the same way, again.
You can book your online tickets to the Red Light Secrets museum by following this link. It is best to book a week or two in advance, but you might be able to get in on the day. We haven’t heard of them turning anyone away yet.
Visiting a Window for Yourself
As well as getting the tour of the museum, you get to spend some time in a red-lit window of your very own as part of your ticket price. This is a little terrifying, so you don’t need to. However, it is likely to do wonders for your confidence! Pose and get yourself some good snaps in the window, then get back to the tour! Actually sitting in the window for yourself gives you a real glimpse into the life of a working prostitute. There’s also something freeing about it. You realise that it is a choice – at least in this city. The women (and men) who work in this environment have freedom to choose, make their money
using their skills, and make as much as they want to. For the most part, they are self-employed and doing well for themselves.
We’re not saying it is all roses. What we are saying is that bringing something like this into the open is a great way to stop women getting killed. Put a spotlight on it. Make these people as protected as everyone else is when they go to work. The fact that this is what you do to eat, doesn’t mean anyone has a right to treat you badly for it.
While prostitution is illegal there isn’t that possibility. The people that are forced into it are not safe. They might die. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out how to protect them… A more rebellious mind might ask why women in the UK aren’t protected like this… but that’s a whole other article. And probably for a different website.
Where to find the Red Light Secrets Museum in Amsterdam?
The Museum is in the centre of the Red Light District, which is within walking distance from Centraal Station. There are various landmarks that will tell you that you’re going in the right direction… but the red lights are the biggest physical give away.
Nestled in among the best bits of the District, you will find the Oudekerksplein; a square with some 32 windows. This part of the area was a former graveyard and still retains the nearby church – one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. There is a statue here called Belle. On this statue is the inscription “Respect Sex Workers All Over the World”. To us, this symbolizes the heart of the red light notion. The idea that a sex worker is any less of a worker than anyone else is alien here. That’s how it should be.
Are you feeling inspired enough to book your next Amsterdam trip yet? If so, then head over to Lilly Likes Amsterdam and browse the other cool attractions you can find there. We’ve covered some of the best bits you can find in the city, so go have a look. At the very least, it will give you a bit of a laugh.