Amsterdam is known for beautiful canals, lots of bicycles and last but not least for its huge red light district. Millions of tourists make the pilgrimage to the capital of the Netherlands every year. But the metropolis is not only home to excessive pleasure but also to many companies - especially in the south of the city. And this is exactly where both worlds meet.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) moved from London to Amsterdam in 2019 because of the Brexit referendum and settled on the southern outskirts of Amsterdam. What she probably didn't expect are the city administration's new plans. This plans to rebuild their legendary red light district. Similar to Hamburg's St. Pauli in the 1960s, the district's sex workers are to be "barracked". At least one large brothel is planned to solve the entertainment district's possible problems: harassment, drug trafficking, drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
For this purpose, the erotic business is to move. Two out of three possible new locations for the establishment are in close proximity to the EMA headquarters. But the authorities are now resisting the city's plans. In her opinion, a move would only shift the problems to another location: "Locating the erotic center in the immediate vicinity of the EMA will probably have the same negative effects in the area," the EMA explained.
And the authorities are not exactly meek with their complaint. The EMA wants to ask the EU Commission to address the matter at the "highest political and diplomatic level" in order to "ensure a safe working environment" for the EMA employees. After all, the EMA is "crucial for protecting public health in the EU". This should not be jeopardized by staff and EU experts being afraid to come to the EMA building, the agency said in a statement. In it, she also criticized that she only found out about the city's plans from local media.
The city administration could not understand the excitement about the topic, as they announced. A spokesman explained that each of the three possible locations of the erotic center is "at least half a kilometer" away from the EMA headquarters. The police also assume that customers would not be on the street like they are in the current red-light district.
As the British Guardian reports, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema declared last month: "Sex work is part of Amsterdam and will never go away. But the situation in the city center is unsustainable...due to the flow of tourists who regularly misbehave and cause harassment ."
For years, the city has been at odds with residents around what is now the red-light district, De Wallen. The newly created brothel will offer space for almost 100 sex workers and will make a significant contribution to pacifying the streets of Amsterdam.
Source: The Guardian, With footage from AFP