Amsterdam, Here I Come


I received many warnings when I expressed I wanted to visit Amsterdam for a weekend. Many people were worried about the red light district, and hearing about it honestly frightened me a little bit too. However, I have always wanted to see the famous canal in Amsterdam and knew that this would be the only time I would be this close to Amsterdam. I decided to book a one way ticket and headed that way this past weekend.

I really did not know much about the red light district, and I honestly did not know if I should because of what I have heard. I come from a very small, conservative hometown where I was not educated on many outside things that did not pertain to the ideas that my hometown wanted their children to know.

My preconceived ideas were that there were people looking for girls to sell their bodies in store windows to earn money. This sounds very closed minded and I am even ashamed for thinking this. Though, I took a tour with a woman who actually worked in the Red Light District and she clarified a lot for me. The women working must be at least twenty one and the area is extremely regulated.

The street is patrolled by police and the workers actually have a good relationship with them, many are on first name basis with the police. These women are also very educated and most work because they want to help people. The tour guide in particular was a nurse, but had patients that wanted help sexually but could not do it themselves.

Since it was not part of her job description, she decided to leave her work and pursue her current job. It was extremely interesting learning that many of the females have the same story. They work as care givers and then have patients that need more. That’s when they pursue work in the Red Light District.

It was so powerful learning more about something I had little knowledge about, especially since the knowledge I had was not correct. I thought the Red Light District would be a dangerous place and that I would be in danger by going to it, but it really is just a place for work and it was highly regulated. I learned that I should not make assumptions before being properly educated and that I should take the time to immerse myself in different cultures.