Red Light Secrets, Museum of Prostitution

Red Light Secrets, Museum of Prostitution allows you to step into the intriguing world of the Amsterdam Red Light District. You will learn details about the oldest profession in the world and experience how it feels to sit ‘behind a window’ and being ogled by passer-by. During your visit you will listen to first-hand audio stories of Inga who worked in the Red Light District for over fifteen years. You will step into the world of prostitution, bondage and sado—masochism but the dangers prostitutes face daily are also pointed out. A poignant reminder is a list of murdered prostitutes next to a small shrine.

Museum of Prostitution: what to see

Spread over two floors in a typical Amsterdam canal house, the Museum of Prostitution is a mix of exhibits and videos. The museum visit starts with a documentary film about the Red Light District followed by a tour through the rooms showing how prostitutes work. A brothel visit starts in the office where prostitutes and brothel owners make deals. Depending on the status of the brothel, this is a tiny backroom or a luxurious large room. You can be part of the show yourself and experience how it feels sitting behind a window and watch the ogling crowds pass by and experience what life is like for a prostitute.

Book your tickets online, download the Tiqets-app and put tour tickets on your phone

Red Light Secrets: the rooms

The luxury room and the workshop in the museum are examples of the workplaces of prostitutes. The first is a deluxe room, with a king-size bed, a large bathroom and dressing room and enough toiletries to last the rest of one’s life. The workshop is small but perfectly suited for the job.

In the masochism room different types of sex are explained: from regular hetero sex to BDMS, which involves bondage and sadomasochism, to sex with transsexual prostitutes. Some sex workers are specializes in certain techniques like electro sex in which the customer is given electric shocks.

How does it feel to be a prostitute?

One room in the museum is very ‘real’ and you will feel empathy with the prostitutes. You sit on a high stool in front of a red-lit window and you watch a projection on the wall opposite of people passing in front of your window. This is exactly what a lady of pleasure sees and experiences while soliciting work. Creepy men leer at you, then stop and make rude gestures. Women look at you and walk past shaking their heads in disapproval. This is a first-hand experience.

The lost and found section is both funny and sad. You will see in a display case what customers left behind: from dentures to keys and ID cards with clearly visible names. The denture were left behind at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 36.

Six golden tips for soliciting customers

1. Lips pursed, breasts out, stand upright and show off the curves of your body.
2. Look happy, men don’t want to spend money on a grumpy woman.
3. Make contact, sitting still like Mona Lisa won’t work, make sure you stand out. Tap gently on the window.
4. Don’t laugh out loud. Your customer may think you’re laughing at him. Smile seductively with your mouth slightly open
5. Make your customer feel that you want him, that he is the one for you. Seduce him.
6. Is your customer still in doubt? Throw in your whole body, breasts, buttocks and show your whole body and go for it!

Red and purple light

Red light is used because it makes the skin look smoother and the prostitute looks more attractive. In the past, red light was also used to obscure marks of sexual transmitted diseases. Purple light indicates: here works a transgender

Prostitution and Fashion

Clothing has a special function for prostitutes. Not so much to keep them warm or to cover the body, but mainly to look sexy. If she is scantily dressed is means that it is clear to see for customers that she is in business. Prostitutes often lead the way in new sexy fashion. A few dummies in the museum are dressed according to the latest sexy fashion.

Prostitution in the Netherlands

The Museum of Prostitution informs the visitor about the numbers of prostitutes in Amsterdam and the rules of legal prostitution: the working conditions, pay, health checks, rent charges for their windows, taxes and customer behavior.
A legal prostitute (who pays taxes) has rights: she can refuse a customer, determine her own working hours and, if she has a pimp, inspect the accounts.

The Red Light Secrets, Museum of Prostitution is not shocking but gives a pragmatic view of a profession that is often viewed with disdain and disapproval. The museum gives an honest picture of a profession that has become a tourist attraction in Amsterdam.

Getting to the Red Light Secrets Museum

Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 60, Amsterdam
Open: Sunday to Thursday: 11.00-18.00, Friday and Saturday: 12.00-20.15

Photos Marianne Crone