OK, I admit it. The title was supposed to make you read this review. If I stuck just to the prices, I'd publish a small table here, without the interesting part. But don't worry, I'll tell you the prices as well.
Recommend this product?
Let me start by saying that when I went to the Red-light district, I was still a student of economy, and as such, crazy about doing a market research. No nothing nasty, just harmlessly walking around and asking for prices.
Before you go into the Red-light district, you should stop in the Museum of Sex. It's within a walking distance and it would get you in the proper mood for exploring the district. After the museum, you're ready to dive into the action.
You'll notice three main types of "businesses", which I'll describe in a greater detail in a moment: porn shops, sex shows and the women. All women are behind a window, usually sitting just in their underwear. As much as you'd like to take a picture, don't do it! You'd be chased down by their "protectors" pretty quickly. And when I started with giving you advice, here's some more: do not go anywhere with a woman, which approached you on the street. It's not safe. Also, you'd be approached often by drug dealers. If you necessarily need to take drugs, stay with marijuana in one of the certified joints.
But now to the promised price guide:
Porn shops: Pretty standard prices for tapes and accessories. The interesting part is the booths for watching either live girls or movies. They are the main ripoff in the district - you get merely seconds for five Guilders. Compared with other prices, this is expensive.
Sex shows: The standard rate is 50 Guilders, but you should go to a well known place, preferably recommended to you by friends. pretty often, you end up watching a monkey spanking naked guests (and I'm not lying). Also, depending on the time of the day, the shows improve, with their best performances between 10PM and 2AM.
Women: The standard rate was (two years ago) 50 Guilders, even though on some places, they charged up to 75. The recommended spots are in the narrowest streets. The women seem to group together according to type and the level of attractiveness. So your best bet is trying a street where you see men standing in line for one or several of the women.
Overall, the Red-light district is an experience on its own. Nowhere in the world, you'll see sex to be so blatantly displayed than here. And nowhere in the world will you find such a cultural difference - while the Dutch take it almost as a shopping mall, the Americans sometimes behave like secretly watching a porn tape, their dad hid away. It's fun just sit down and watch the crowds, too.
Final note: At the time I was writing this opinion, the exchange rate was 1 Dollar for 2.32 Dutch Guilder. That means that 50 Guilders is about $22.50.
7/21/00 Update: Today, New York Times published a highly entertaining article about the Red Light District. If you are interested, you can read it at http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/europe/072100amsterdam-rules.html (registration required)
Read all comments (3)