Walking Tour: Red-Light Stroll

  • Start Condomerie Het Gulden Vlies
  • End Greenhouse
  • Length 1.25km; 25 minutes

Amsterdam’s oldest quarter isn’t all about the world’s oldest profession – as this short saunter through the sinful side of the city shows.

What better way to set the mood than by stopping in at Condomerie Het Gulden Vlies? Cherry red, hypoallergenic, cartoon-character embodiments – the bright, cheerful shop is a shrine to condom art, selling all sizes, colours and designs.

It's easy to walk right by the teeny alley Trompettersteeg. After turning left onto Oudezijds Voorburgwal from St Annenstraat, it'll be the second little street you come to en route to the Oude Kerk. Claustrophobes, beware: the medieval alley is only 1m wide, and the red-light windows keep it busy.

A contradiction if ever there was one: the 14th-century Oude Kerk is Amsterdam's oldest building, but the surrounding square has long been ground zero for prostitution. Look near the entrance for the 'golden torso' pavement plaque, with a hand groping a breast.

Just northwest of the church, the Prostitution Information Centre dispenses forthright facts to sex workers and visitors alike.

Cross the canal onto Korte Niezel and turn right down Oudezijds Achterburgwal, where bondage exhibits and dildo bikes 'educate' visitors in the Erotic Museum. For further browsing, multiple shops around here offer 'nonstop hard porno' and trinkets such as whips, masks and spiked collars.

It's rapid-fire vice as you continue down Oudezijds Achterburgwal: live sex shows at Casa Rosso, smoky vaporisers at the Cannabis College, botany lessons at the Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum, and legendary cannabis strain 'Big Bud' at the attached Sensi Seeds shop.

Turn right along Prinsenhofstraat towards Oudezijds Voorburgwal. At the corner of Prinsenhofstraat and Oudezijds Voorburgwal, popular coffeeshop Greenhouse is renowned for its high-quality cannabis and serves up good food and funky music. There are many places for actual coffee in the district too.