Red Light Boats

Floating red light district.

The red light district walks on water.

I previously blogged about our local red light district in Utrecht, conveniently located next to the supermarket where we do our regular shopping. Well, it turns out there is another red light district in Utrecht, and this one is… on boats.

Canals + prostitutes + houseboats – how much more Dutch could you possibly get?

The Zandpad is Utrecht’s floating red light district. Forty-three houseboats, which are licensed brothels, float on the Vecht river and are moored to a long dock.  About 900 prostitutes work the 143 “work stations,” the red-curtained windows.

Their prospective clients drive past in cars on Zandpad Street (zandpad means “sand path,” but the sand was long ago replaced by tarmac). Here’s a video of what it’s like.


About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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2 Responses to Red Light Boats

  1. bryan says:

    900 is a bit exagerated dont you think, dont think amsterdam that in their districts.

    • Liberiana says:

      That is the information I found from research I did online. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that specific number, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in general the number is quite high. This is because each window is rented by multiple prostitutes who pay to rent the space for a period, e.g. for an 8-hour shift. If you walk by the windows at different times of day, you will see different women working in there. And it’s also not the same women who work there every day. So all of these factors make for a high rotation and a high TOTAL number of women who work there (of course, not all 900 – or however many it is – are there at once). See my previous post for more information about prostitution in the Netherlands:

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