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  • Writer's pictureBen West

A Brief History of the Red Light Secrets Museum in Amsterdam

What is the Red Light Secrets Museum?

The Red Light Secrets Museum is a museum in Amsterdam that aims to demystify the lives of sex workers in the city.

Red Light Secrets

Cleme1aj, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Red Light Secrets Museum History

Amsterdam is known the world over for its liberal attitude towards sex and prostitution. This goes back centuries: indeed, the area the sex industry operates within, the Red Light District or De Wallen as it’s known locally, is the oldest in Amsterdam.

Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution charts the history of the sex trade in Amsterdam. It’s fittingly situated in a former brothel within a 17th-century canal house near the Oudekerksplein, a square in the heart of the Red Light District. A former graveyard, the square has more than 35 windows from which sex workers offer their services. However, the government is currently attempting to reduce this number, as well as the presence of sex workers in the city centre.

The museum shows a replica of a sex worker’s room and dispenses information aimed at demystifying the sex trade. Here you can sit behind one of the windows, to feel what it’s like to be studied from the streets. The museum explains who sex workers are, why they engage in this work in Amsterdam, and the kind of money they can make. There are also audio stories related by a longstanding prostitute called Inga.

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