Amsterdam plan to move red light district prostitutes into out-of-town ‘erotic centre’ is met with fury by European Medicines Agency that is based just yards away after quitting UK for Holland because of Brexit
- City officials want to move sex workers out of their current home in De Wallen
- But the EMA and others are opposed to the move that will see a 100-room ‘erotic centre’ with sex theatres and clubs built in the city’s South District
Amsterdam’s plan to move its red light district prostitutes into an out-of-town erotic centre has been met with fury by the European Medicines Agency.
The agency had moved from London to the famous Dutch city after the UK left the European Union with Brexit, and said it was ‘extremely concerned’ by the Amsterdam authorities’ proposal which was put forward this week.
The EMA says the new centre could put the safety of its employees at risk, particularly those working late at its offices, which are located in Amsterdam’s South District – the city’s first choice of location for the project.
City Mayor Femke Halsema wants to uproot the inner-city red light district to clean up Amsterdam’s image as a ‘sin city’ and respond to residents’ complaints about petty crime and rowdy tourists in the area.
On Monday, city leaders said they had chosen Europa Boulevard on the southern edge of Amsterdam’s main business district for the new ‘Erotic Centre’.
Amsterdam’s plan to move its red light district prostitutes into an out-of-town erotic centre has been met with fury by the European Medicines Agency
The agency had moved from London to the famous Dutch city after the UK left the European Union with Brexit, and said it was ‘extremely concerned’ by the Amsterdam authorities’ proposal which was put forward this week. Pictured: The EMA’s Amsterdam offices
The proposal is set to be put forward to the local council early next year.
‘EMA is extremely concerned about the impact of the decision on its surrounding environment as the proposed location for the Erotic Centre is in close proximity to the EMA premises,’ the medicines watchdog said of the choice.
The site is 900 yards from its headquarters and close to residential areas.
The Europa Boulevard, which sits on the edge of Amsterdam’s main business district was one of three possibilities for the erotic centre. It would have 100 rooms for sex workers, as well as restaurants, sex theatres, clubs and restaurants.
‘The agency will keep monitoring the decision-making process very closely,’ it said, adding that concerns it had expressed earlier this year ‘still stand’.
The city’s plans have also been opposed by locals who do not want the new centre on their doorstep, as well as sex workers.
They feel they are being used as scapegoats for the criminals and crowds surrounding their neon-lit booths, currently in the famed De Wallen red light district.
Europa Boulevard was one of three possible locations for the erotic centre, which would have 100 rooms for sex workers, allowing the authorities to shut an equal number of brothel rooms in the city centre.
The project could take seven years to complete.
On Monday, Amsterdam city executives named a new location in the Dutch capital’s south as its preferred site for an out-of-town ‘erotic centre’, in a controversial plan to move the city’s Red Light District away from its current home in De Wallen (pictured)
Mayor Femke Halsema (pictured, file photo) wants to uproot the red light district and move it out of the inner city to a purpose-built centre, aiming to rid Amsterdam’s image as a ‘sin city’, while reducing the number of tourists and petty crime in the area
Tens of thousands of people have signed various petitions opposing the move, calling instead for better crowd control and greater police surveillance in the De Wallen district, especially at night.
Mayor Halsema has long opposed the centuries-old red light district, with its neon-lined windows in canalside houses where sex workers stand waiting for customers.
‘The Europa Boulevard in the South district the most suitable location for the new Erotic Centre,’ Amsterdam city executive said, announcing the proposal.
‘This choice will now be presented to the city council early next year,’ it added in a statement, saying it expected it to take seven years before it was due to open.
‘Finding a location for an erotic centre is a difficult task. Due to the enormous growth in tourism, the old town, especially the red light district, has been under pressure for years.’ the city administration added.
‘Windows of the erotic centre will only be located inside the building. In this way we want to combat sightseeing tourism and keep disruptive groups away.’
Moving the red light district is one of Amsterdam’s efforts to transform its image as a party capital.
The EMA says the new centre could put the safety of its employees at risk, particularly those working late at its offices, which are located in Amsterdam’s South District – the city’s first choice of location
It has also launched a ‘stay away’ campaign to discourage stag nights and boozy tourists, which caused a stir in Britain after the council said it would start by targeting British men aged 18-35.
Last month the city announced plans to ramp up its campaign to shoo away hard partying tourists after the first effort met limited success.
An online campaign will aim to show a different side of Amsterdam, featuring art and culture and stories of ‘real Amsterdammers.’
The city council is expected to discuss the proposals early next year and the erotic centre could take around seven years to build and open.
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