Brothel owners in Amsterdam’s red light district are to be forced to help the city council clean-up in the area or face losing their property, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.
The city council on Wednesday evening voted in favour of changes to the area’s zoning laws, making it possible to evict uncooperative owners.
The city is in the middle of a major operation to revamp the red light district, situated in one of the oldest and most picturesque parts of the capital.
Lodewijk Asscher, the alderman in charge of the project, told the paper he expects lengthy legal procedures. ‘Sex industry bosses are always in for a fight,’ he said. ‘The concept zoning plan had not even been finished and lawyers were at the ready’.
The project involves reducing the number of window brothels, gambling halls and cannabis cafes and upgrading hotels and bars. By reducing the number of brothels, the city council hopes to break up the criminal network which dominates the district.
So far, around 100 of the 500 red light windows have been shut down and a further 100 are targeted for closure by 2017. Housing corporations have been buying up the properties with council financial support for the loss of value – brothels are worth more than ordinary housing.
Asscher refused to say how much the corporations and city have spent on buying up brothels. ‘You could then come up with a price per window and that would damage the city’s negotiating position,’ he said.
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