The Dutch do not believe their lifestyle is more decadent than any others; just less hypocritical


Coffee shops

Drugs are not legal, but soft drugs are tolerated in special cafes or coffee shops. Hard drugs are totally illegal and only sold in back alleys by criminals and addicts.   The government figured it was better to tolerate them, than prohibit them and lose control

In 1975, the Mayor gave license to certain licensed coffee shops to sell soft drugs. The government supplies the drugs: hashish and marijuana, which are tolerated in certain coffee shops, but smoking tobacco is now illegal with a €2,400 fine.  Unfortunately the open drug policy has become a social experiment gone wrong. The border cities and villages were getting 1.5 million drug tourists a year, with many hard drug users.  The situation was so bad, the government had to set up safe houses to keep the addicts away from the local villagers. Now in most border towns and other cities, only the Dutch can smoke. Amsterdam will be the exception due to outcry from the tourist industry.

The number of coffee shops in the country has been dropped from 1500 to 700, with more due to close shortly.
In Amsterdam there are 198 left, but more due to close due to their proximity to schools.
Some clever coffee shop owners have offered to buy the schools out.



Kids are encouraged to discuss sex and can get contraception from age 12.
Though it is legal from age 16, many Dutch have their first experience relatively late
They have the lowest abortion and teen pregnancy rate in world
They do not have the same attitude to sex as our society has, so do not judge it.
Nudity is not a problem, so much so, there are no dressing gowns in doctor’s offices.
Women seeking employment at job centres may be offered a position in the sex trade.



Prostitution in this seaport town, has been tolerated since 1200.
In the 1900’s, girls were allowed to do it as long as they stayed in doors, where they would open curtains a crack and knock on the window to attract custom.
Over time, the curtains opened more and more.
Now there are 5-8,000 girls aged 21-82 with 75% from Romania and Bulgaria; where in the past is was mainly Dutch and Indonesian girls.
They work hard and can do 11 hour shifts, 6 days a week, with their day off getting hair and nails done.

Each visit is €50 for 15 minutes, and their take home pay is approximately €150 after six clients, or €250 after eight.
There are panic buttons and alarms on all the windows, with the cops always 2 blocks and 30 seconds away.
The district regulated by police, social workers, health workers, tax authorities, civil rights groups. A new girl will be noticed in a matter of hours and must prove their age and be licensed.
They get a health test every 3 months.

The women pay taxes, so the government makes €450 million per year.
There has been a union called the red thread since 2001.
The girls get help with things like lighting, toilets, and wash facilities in work place.  Also discounted condoms and lotions. They can write off condoms and beds on their tax forms.

They also have sick pay, pensions, and pregnancy leave
No Photos are allowed in the Red Light area, as private body guards will come out of nowhere and make you erase your memory card.
The area is safe due to a high police presence, lots of body guards and cameras everywhere.
Blue-ish light in the window,will be a transsexual. they tend to stay together in one small area.
There is no blatant trade in male prostitutes for ladies. They did try once, but after 8 months, the men got really hungry and gave up.
In 2008, the area was given a bit of a shake up, where the government spent €25 million to buy out and close fifty windows.  These are now dedicated to fashion and art displays. These have not been very successful, as it didn’t have any information about the designer or art work, or where you could buy the pieces.  Many of these windows are now empty.
There is also a new law where windows must close 6-8am, to keep out the worst of the drunks, and the legal age of the girls, has been raised from 18 to 21.