Prostitutes in Amsterdam Get Their Own Museum, A Global First

Feb 24 2014, 5:34pm CST | by

Prostitutes in Amsterdam Get Their Own Museum, A Global First
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

They may be curbing pot tourism, but leave it to the Dutch to come up with other unconventional and risky ideas to attract tourists.

This month, a lot of attention was drawn to a new museum intended to bring visitors “behind the scenes of the oldest profession of the world,” as explained on the museum’s website.

Located between two functioning brothels overlooking a canal in Amsterdam’s infamous and picturesque Red Light District, and quartered in one of those typically narrow, colorful houses that was a former brothel, the Red Light Secrets Museum is the first in the world dedicated to prostitution.

The intention? To offer an education to visitors who have wondered what life is really like for those women beckoning potential clients from behind the glass of the red-lighted windows where they exhibit themselves in their lingerie.

Although some criticism has been registered by the country’s more conservative voices, the museum generally has been accepted as a natural fit in a district where prostitution – legal in the Netherlands since 2000 - is one of the major attractions for hundreds of curious tourists every day.

Amsterdam’s Red Light zone features more than 290 such windows with women on display.

“Step into the intriguing world that remains hidden to many and discover the secrets of Amsterdam’s most notorious neighborhood,” the museum beckons.  “Experience what it feels like to take a seat behind one of the famous windows and listen to the secrets of women themselves, their moving dreams and desires and the disappointments they suffer in their lives.”

Among the museum’s exhibits is a red-lit window behind which visitors can sit like prostitutes do and be ogled by people passing outside.

They can also visit different “working rooms,” ranging from the basic, several square-meters-wide version separated from the show window by a red curtain, with just a bed, sink and neon lights and for which the prostitutes pay €150 for a half day, to a larger  “club” style with red plush carpet, gold decor, a bigger bed, a TV and a bathroom for which the price tops €350.

Displays, films, and videos show the role of prostitutes in society and chronicle the evolution in social and political attitudes over centuries.

One film shows prostitutes who have families and discusses their daily lives.

Not far from the Sex Museum and the Museum of Eroticism, the new Red Light Secrets Museum is intended to offer a more cultural and educational experience. “The other museums focus on sex and sexual performance. The new museum gives you a glimpse into the world of sex workers—what it feels like to stand behind a window and the looks you get,” Yolanda van Doeveren, charged with the city’s dealings with prostitution, told the France Press.

“Maybe tourists will get a chance to change their behavior and show a little more respect,” she hopes.

Source: Forbes Business


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