Overview of the Singelgebied red light district in Amsterdam


As I noted previously, Amsterdam is probably the most famous city for prostitution in the world. That’s not because it is has the most sex work around or even the best options for people seeking out adult entertainment. It is because it well-known as a place where sex work is not only tolerated but legal and regulated. It is also open in many cases included at the De Wallen which is probably the most famous sex market on earth.

red light district in amsterdam

While De Wallen is known around the globe is not the only adult entertainment area in Amsterdam. Far from it! The city has all sorts of sex clubs and brothels. It also has some naughty massage parlors and quite a few more red light districts that are more under the radar for people who don’t necessarily pay attention to these kinds of things.

The Singelgebied red light district

Singelgebied is the second largest red light district in Amsterdam. Although it only a few hundred meters from De Wallen it is not nearly as popular for tourists. The area is a lot different too. It is more quiet and there are few if any signs of beggars or anything of that nature which cannot be said of the more popular De Wallen area. I’m sure some people have gone through Singelgebied without even knowing that they passed through such an area.

The Singelgebied red light district is not gigantic. It is situated between the Singel Canal and Nieuwzijds Voorburgwal Street.

There around just around 60 window shops in the Singelgebied red light district. With a few of the shops on Spuistraat Road being staffed by ladyboys, there are less than 60 women working in Singelgebied even at the best of times.

There was a point in history when Singlegebied was much larger. It used to take up several more blocks. Like De Wallen its size has decreased. While the sale of sex in Amsterdam is open and tolerated there are still forces that would like to limit it or even drive it into extinction or at least the shadows.

Singelgebied today

The real estate in the area must be worth a pretty penny so its no wonder some would rather have the land in their hands to sell it to some deep pocketed developers than to see it used by working women turning tricks for a few Euros. This is the same thing that is motivating the destruction of some of the red light districts in South Korea.

For the time being the practice of women selling sex through glass windows continues in a more limited form. At Singlegebied women start showing up in the morning though most don’t really get into the swing until afternoon or evening.

Some of the windows are located at street level but others are downstairs or at basement level. Walking around reveals basically all that is available in a fairly short amount of time. The women range in age and looks but generally speaking they come from around Europe and are of average attractiveness. Some are aged and even over the hill but of course beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. Singlegebied is one of the most common places to find Dutch and black sex workers.


The area seems to mainly attract locals. Many are probably repeat customers who would undoubtedly receive better service than one-and-done tourists who the service providers would never expect to see again. Still services are rather mechanical. After customer negotiate a price in the front of the shop they are taken into the back where they receive a few minutes of action. Typical rates are between 25 and 50 Euros ($27-54 USD) for a 20 minute session that often lasts only fifteen. Many sex workers require negotiation or even extra money for doing things as basic as changing position and so those who do not discuss everything beforehand can end up in awkward situations while in the middle of their activities.

Payment is typically asked for up front but locals may pay after or simply leave the agreed payment in a visible place to avoid any risk of getting ripped off. While the women are licensed and for the most part on the up-and-up scams and other problems do happen. Most of the women are attached to their own security in the form of guys who lurk around out of sight until they are needed.

Singlegebied is also home to a few gay-oriented adult stores. I’m not totally sure what goes on in these places but I can guess that they serve as meeting spots for horned up guys looking for companions. Coincidentally the biggest of the gay shops is located on Spuistraat near a lot of the ladyboy windows.

Address:Singel, Amsterdam, Netherlands (Map)
Hours:10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
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