History of Museum of Prostitution

Find out the intriguing history of Museum of Prostitution – Red Light Secrets. 

Housed in an old brothel, this unique museum puts light on centuries of the city’s history associated with its famous sex trade. 

Learn about this museum’s journey as it shares an important part of Amsterdam’s cultural past.

History of Museum of Prostitution

The Red Light Secret Museum’s Origin

In 2018, the Amsterdam Red Light Secrets Museum opened its doors, focusing on the history of the Red Light District. 

Housed in a former 17th-century brothel, this unique museum was once a place of trade. 

But as times changed, it transformed into the only museum in the world dedicated to the stories and importance of sex workers.

Challenging Myths

The museum seeks to eliminate myths and openly discuss the role of Amsterdam’s Red Light District in the city’s past. 

It sheds light on how society and stories established this iconic place over time by diving into the past.

Understanding the Trade

Inside the museum, you will see rooms used in the trade.

Visitors can even sit behind one of the windows to experience what it’s like to be watched from the street. 

The museum shares info about who sex workers are, why they choose this job in Amsterdam, and how much money they can make.

History of Amsterdam Red Light District

Origins of De Wallen

Amsterdam features three Red Light Districts, with De Wallen being the largest and most renowned. 

It got its name from the medieval city walls that once surrounded it. 

Initially consisting of only two streets designated for prostitution, the neighborhood grew as a result of trade growth from overseas colonies. 

However, this expansion resulted in overcrowding and rising crime rates.

Prohibition and Punishment

Despite the 1578 ban on prostitution, the sex trade continued to thrive. 

The state’s penalties, including fines and punishments, marked the beginning of a complex relationship between the government and the district, which remains the same today.

French Occupation and Regulation

The French invasion in 1795 legalized prostitution, imposing strict rules. 

Even after they left in 1813, Amsterdam kept it legal until the state interfered in 1911. 

Over time, rules evolved, leading to the lifting of the ban by the Dutch government in 2000.

Project 1012: Controversial Transformations

In 2007, Amsterdam introduced Project 1012, aiming to transform the district by replacing brothels with ‘legitimate’ businesses like luxury boutiques and cafes.

They closed many windows where sex workers met clients, replacing them with stores. 

This annoyed the workers, who had lost their income without compensation. 

In 2015, over 200 workers protested and marched to the city’s center, worried about the safety of their jobs.


The Amsterdam Red Light Secrets Museum tells a story that spans changes in society, people’s lives, and the importance of the Red Light District. 

It is a place that shows how Amsterdam accepts its past while looking toward the future.


1. What is the history of Museum of Prostitution?

The Amsterdam Red Light Secrets Museum, also called the Museum of Prostitution, opened its doors in 2018. 

An old brothel building houses the Museum. 

But things changed, and now it’s the only museum in the world that tells the tales and importance of sex workers.

2. Where is the Red Light District located?

The Museum of Prostitution – Red Light Secrets is located at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 60h, 1012 DP Amsterdam, Netherlands

3. Why is the Red Light District famous in Amsterdam?

It is noted for its historic buildings, canals, and legalized prostitution, making it a unique and iconic part of Amsterdam’s culture.

4. What are Red Light Secrets hours?

The museum is open every day from Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 10.30 pm. 

On Fridays and Saturdays, it is open until 11.30 pm.

5. What’s inside Red Light Secrets?

Inside Red Light Secrets, you can learn and explore a lot. There are rooms where prostitutes used to work. 

You can see what they used and how they worked. 
There are artifacts to look at. 

You can also hear about their experiences and participate in some activities.

6. What is the History of Amsterdam Red Light District?

The Amsterdam Red Light District, called De Wallen, has a long history. 

It started as a place where people performed specific tasks, including prostitution, long ago. 

Nowadays, it’s a distinct sector of Amsterdam with its own set of rules.

7. What are some tips for visiting the Museum of Prostitution?

Here are some museum Museum of Prostitution visiting tips:
– Pre-book tickets
– Beware of pickpockets
– Use Oude Kerk as your landmark
– Respect the museum and the person
– Follow the local laws

8. What do the red and blue lights in the windows mean?

A red light means the worker is available, while closed drapes or pink light indicate an occupied room. 

Blue lights indicate transgender workers.

9. How much is the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution entry ticket?

The Museum of Prostitution Amsterdam ticket price is €17 (US$19) for adults aged 18 and above.

Click here to book your tickets

10. Are there rules in the Red Light District?

Some of the standard rules are:

No Pictures of Sex Workers: Don’t take photos of the people working there. They want privacy and safety. 
Respect and Be Kind: Treat the people in the windows nicely. Laughing at them is not okay. Be respectful and kind. 
Don’t Throw Trash: Don’t throw cigarette butts or trash on the streets. 
Be Quiet: Don’t shout or make loud noises. The Red Light District is a regular neighborhood where people live. 
Bring Cash: Sex workers don’t usually accept credit cards. Bring enough cash (euros) to visit a sex worker. 
Always Carry ID: In the Netherlands, you must have your ID. It’s the law.

Featured Image: Viator.com

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