Red Light District Under Control

The Red Light District (‘Wallen’ in Dutch) is a unique part of Amsterdam. No other neighbourhood is so diverse, layered and lived. Over the last few years, however, the neighbourhood has been given the image of being “out of control” and in need of large-scale intervention. While this discourse rarely accords with reality, it became the policy ambition to transform the “urban jungle” into a “monumental garden”.

As part of this process, more and more far-reaching measures are being introduced to increase control over the neighbourhood. While some of these measures might be framed as important for the safety of, for example, sex workers, or for a basic form of livability for inhabitants, the larger package of measures seems to be mostly directed at structurally sanitising the neighbourhood.

The intention behind this mapping project is to provide some insight in the level and detail of control that is being imposed, and kickstart a discussion about their impact on this unique part of Amsterdam’s urban fabric.