Saturday 22 January 2022

Amsterdam city buys nine red light district buildings as clean up continues

Part of the Oudebrugsteeg. Photo: PaulaUdondek via Wikimedia Commons

Amsterdam city council has bought nine buildings in the red light district from tourist company Tours & Tickets after negotiations lasting over a year, the Parool reported on Monday.

The buildings, which now house snack bars, sex shops and cafes in the narrow Oudebrugsteeg, will be run by the council’s property agency NV Zeedijk, a non-profit company.

The deal means that almost half the shops in the alley are now in council hands, although tourist locations will not close immediately because they all have rental contracts.

Tours & Tickets parent company sold the properties for the market price, put at over €20m by the paper. Rabobank backed the deal on behalf of the city.

The move is the latest stage in council efforts to brake the rise of budget tourism in the oldest part of the Dutch capital. In 2017, the council imposed a ban on new souvenir and fast food shops and at the end of last month it changed zoning laws to halt the development of new tourist shops and sex outlets in buildings with a dual function.

Zeedijk

NV Zeedijk was set up in the 1980s to breathe new life into the Zeedijk, a street that had become synonymous with crime and hard drugs.

The city’s mayor Femke Halsema has also said that officials will take a decision about what to do about the flower market on the Singel this year. Once a place where growers sold their blooms, the flower market is now a row of tourist shops selling the odd flower bulb.

‘It is a place the Dutch no longer visit and that has to change,’ Halsema told the paper.

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