The city of Amsterdam has started a survey to gauge commercial interest in building an erotic centre to replace 100 brothel windows in the red light district.
Project developers, brothel and erotic entertainment owners, cultural institutions, investors, architects and sex workers have been invited to submit their opinions on on plans for the large-scale centre for prostitution and entertainment.
There are three proposed locations, two near the RAI conference centre in Zuid and one at the NDSM Wharf in Noord, where councillors are considering building an erotic centre. The intention is to close 100 sex work windows in the red light district, to reduce seedy visitors, nuisance and criminality, while better protecting sex worker rights in a more controlled environment.
Earlier this month the Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema told councillors however that the centre would aim to attract fewer visitors, rather than the 1.5 million per year that some neighbourhoods feared. It is now being described as an “Erotic and Cultural Centre”, with fewer bars, restaurants and cafes and more of a cultural programme.
According to a news release on the market consultation, this should “lead to fewer people and a different public.” In the months ahead, the city executive intends to work out “sharper” plans on the scale and offering in the erotic centre, while consulting more residents, businesses and sex workers. Much public reaction so far has been negative, including official responses from Noord and Zuid district councils.
A definitive proposal is expected in the autumn and a decision will be taken by councillors early next year. The intention is that although the centre is to be built on city land, it will be funded by private money. A Follow the Money investigation suggested it may still cost the taxpayer millions to buy out window brothels in the red light district in order to achieve the plans.
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