Looky-loo has to make a donation when visiting the Red Light District

30 August, 2018 in Blog by Dani

English version – Press here for Dutch version

Amsterdam 31st August 2018 – ‘Come for the weed, stay for the hookers’, as the unofficial slogan about Amsterdam goes, is more true than ever. The number of foreign visitors coming to the city keeps growing rapidly and the Red Light District attracts somewhere around 2.5 million visitors a year. Other than you would expect, when seeing the crowds of tourists in this area, business is declining for sex workers and they are dealing with high debt.

Online cityguide thingstodoinamsterdam.com wants to raise awareness and increase the financial situation of the sex workers: tourists who visit ‘the Wallen’ (as the Red Light District is called in The Netherlands) by joining a tour have to make a donation.

Tourists have a growing need for services of sex workers

Via a recent research by newspaper Trouw, (translated version at NLTimes.nl)  thingstodoinamsterdam.com became aware of the increasingly difficult situation of sex workers, they decided to analyze the online search behavior of tourists.

‘Several queries with a relation to the Red Light District showed a growing need for services provided sex workers in the Red Light District’, according to ThingstodoinAmsterdam.

The online marketeers took into account the underlying intention of the query in their research. Keywords like ‘costs’ and ‘price’ in this case would refer to a different need than simply being interested in seeing the tourist attraction. ‘More than 12.000 queries a month from tourists are pointing towards the direct wish of wanting to use the services of a sex worker in the Red Light District’, ThingstodoinAmsterdam states.

Zoekvolumes red light district - prices vs tours


Despite the increase in the online search volume amongst tourists, actual client numbers in the Red Light District are dropping. An online trend can be seen where the need for tours in the area is outgrowing to the need for services from sex workers. Big groups of looky-loos, usually armed with smartphone cameras, drive prostitutes away from the windows near the canals, according to PROUD, the Dutch interest group for sex workers. ‘Visiting a lady of the night anonymously is no longer an option with the large number of curious tourists. Willing clients can perceive this as an obstacle’, PROUD says.

Mandatory donation for tourists who visit through a tour

The increase in interest for pre-organized tours in the area puts more financial strain on the ladies of the night. Since the beginning of this year online searches for tours have tripled.  

ThingstodoinAmsterdam strongly believes in regulating the number of daily tours by the municipality of Amsterdam. ‘Until now only a permit is needed for guides who assist on tours. Only this year 1.500 permits have been given out by the municipality’, ThingstodoinAmsterdam underlines.

Next to the regulation of the amount of tours, the online cityguide proposes a mandatory donation from all participants who join a tour. These donations should be put into a fund that releases the financial pressure on sex workers and can be used to pay for the expensive window-rents. ThingstodoinAmsterdam emphasize that they only provide tours that are carried out by PROUD, who puts the rights of sex workers first.

Research data in Interactive graph

Gebruik onderstaande HTML-code om de grafiek over te nemen:

<div class="iframe-link" style="max-width: 960px; width: 100%; min-width: 380px; position: relative"><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://thingstodoinamsterdam.com/"><span style="position: absolute; bottom: 12px; right: 0px; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(119, 119, 119); font-family: inherit;">Onderzoek door: thingstodoinamsterdam.com</span><iframe class="localfocusvisual" frameborder="0" style="width:100%;height:500px;overflow:hidden" src="https://localfocus2.appspot.com/5b85b47031ff8"></iframe></a></div>

Disclaimer data

The source of our research data is Google Keyword Planner. The numbers are rounded estimates which can not be calculated as absolute numbers, but which do give a good reflection of the development of keywords and corresponding volumes.

Note for publication:

[email protected]
Dani van Rooij

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