Tag Archives: Amsterdam

11 of the best jazz clubs in the world

What makes a jazz club? The music, of course. The atmosphere. The cultural significance.

As an art form born in African-American communities of the 19th century and expanded in the urban melting pots of the 20th, jazz is the soundtrack of the concrete jungle.

Which makes the jazz club an essential element in any modern city’s ecosystem. Here are some of the best examples.

Village Vanguard, New York City

Village Vanguard, New York City

In a city often hailed as the jazz mecca of the world, Village Vanguard is its black stone, the ultimate place of worship, the quintessential jazz club. From the moment you descend the steep stairway to the small basement venue, you find yourself steeped in the history of jazz. From Bill Evans to Brad Mehldau, and from Sonny Rollins to Joe Lovano and Jason Moran, most of the jazz greats have performed in the same dimly lit subterranean space, adding to the aura of this place that’s a point of reference for the global jazz community.

Continue reading 11 of the best jazz clubs in the world

Advertisements

Hunter S. Thompson Tried to Get Paid in Cocaine at My Tequila Bar

BY TOMAS ESTES (Munchies)

As one of only two official tequila ambassadors for the Mexican government, 69-year-old Tomas Estes is credited with introducing Europe to agave spirits. Shaped by an adolescence spent motorcycling shirtless and drinking with Beatniks in 60s California, he opened his first bar in Amsterdam and today has a tequila brand, award-winning book on the spirit, and bars in Paris and London to his name. If you cut this guy open, he’d probably bleed tequila.

It all began when I was a teenager growing up in Los Angeles. My friends and I used to hop on over to Tijuana in Mexico and hit the bars. I digged the vibe there. I could do things that I couldn’t do back in the States.

That’s where my love for tequila started. We drank a lot of it. I remember this one bar in Ensenada, it was called Hussong’s and it’d been there since the 1800s. It was full of characters—sailors, rogues, adventurers. This was just after the Beat Generation in the 1960s and just before the hippy movement took off. They were exciting times, and it was a really great place to drink—people used to rock up on donkeys.

Down in Mexico and around California, I explored. This was the 60s, sexual freedom and liberation was beginning. Tijuana was like Sin City. And yeah, we got high, we drank tequila, we went to strip clubs. I carried a switch blade. I learned a lot about life in these years.

I used to just ride my bike in a pair of Levi jeans—no shirt—in the sun. All this helped me forge a career in the bar trade—uncovering the food, really understanding tequila and what it means to Mexico. And just life.

But also, I guess it’s fair to say that I went off the rails a bit and got into trouble back home. I ended up in jail five times—car theft, usually, but a bunch of other things too. I didn’t even keep the cars, I just drove them around a bit and left them.

Tijuana was like Sin City. And yeah, we got high, we drank tequila, we went to strip clubs. I carried a switch blade. All this helped me forge a career in the bar trade.

I got myself together by teaching—I won a scholarship to a university in southern California. I was a wrestler. Afterwards, I taught for a few years and, I think, for awhile, I was good. It was fulfilling. Imparting knowledge, discussing the world, studying life—all these things are so important.

But after a while I got a bit edgy and missed the scene. I needed something more—what is it that Yates said? “Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire.” To begin with, I knew I was lighting a fire. A few years in I felt that fire was gone, so I took a sabbatical and went to Europe.

When I found Amsterdam, I knew that’s where I wanted to live. It was so free, the culture was alive, and I saved up the money and opened my first bar there, Cafe Pacifico, in 1976. There wasn’t a Mexican restaurant in the city, there wasn’t tequila. I took it there and started a new fire.

It was a huge success. It was full of artists, musicians. There were drug dealers and characters. This was Amsterdam.

Cafe Pacifico was a very cool place. I remember Debbie Harry coming in. Everyone knew about it. One time, Queen picked up a platinum record award there. I met the Jacksons, Tina Turner and the Nike bosses used to sit at a table and drink tequila and eat (they probably did a few other things). Basically, it was inspiring to be there—creativity appeared at every turn.

After that, I came to London and opened another Pacifico. Back then, Covent Garden was just a void. You either drank in West London or in Soho—depending on how much money you had—but it took off. A day before I opened, a magazine asked to interview Hunter S. Thompson [there]. We had a full bar but hadn’t served a single drink.

When I found Amsterdam, I knew that’s where I wanted to live. I saved up the money and opened my first bar there in 1976. There wasn’t a Mexican restaurant in the city, there wasn’t tequila.

I remember him, he was everything you thought he’d be—petulant, temperamental. He seemed a bit violent but it was remarkable to meet the man, he had such presence. He also kept storming out of the room—apparently he was trying to negotiate his fee for the article in cocaine.

In the years since, tequila’s just grown and grown. It’s come up with London—the culture has transformed, Covent Garden is nothing like it used to be. Just as we’re finding new bars, people, experiences, we’re finding new agaves all the time.

The most exciting thing in the drinks industry coming out of Mexico right now is finding these little communities making their own liquor. OK, sometimes they get ripped off, but usually people are true to the spirit and true to the people. And that’s amazing.

These isolated villages are producing incredible tequila and mezcal, and every one of them is unique and extraordinary. And it’s great for the locals and strong for the economy.

Since opening Cafe Pacifico, I’ve had around 17 restaurants in total. And I’ve brought these odd and new drinks to each one.

Today, I’ve just got one in Paris, and a few bars here [London]. London is incredibly diverse and there’s a thirst for agave spirits right now—at El Nivel, we’ve got variations like raicilla, which is more acidic, almost vinegar-like.

And there’s sotal, which isn’t actually from the agave plant, but it’s medicinal in flavour and works well in cocktails. Each one has its own aroma and makeup.

This love for the drink isn’t just in the States and not just in Europe—it’s global. We’re all drinking it. And we’ve all got so much more to learn.

There’ll always be slammers, limes, shooters, but sipping proper, authentic, lovingly made tequila is something special.

Most people are only beginning to drink it properly. There’ll always be slammers, limes, shooters, but sipping proper, authentic, lovingly made tequila is something special. There’s no taste like it—something to savour.

I love the fascination for agave right now, it’s the drink of 2015 and I think we haven’t peaked yet. There’ll hopefully be another three or four years left of interest, this hype, before the world moves onto something else.

But agave spirits will always be here.

 

Top 10 family-friendly city apartments around Europe

Barcelona apartment
This Barcelona apartment comes with cartoon doodles on the walls, toy boxes and an indoor hammockYes, a city break with the kids can be enjoyable, if you stay in child-friendly pads like these – from a Barcelona apartment with toys galore to Budapest with babysitters

Barcelona

With a comic-strip-print sofa, cartoon doodles on the walls, toy boxes, and an indoor hammock, this small but sleek apartment has been designed with kids in mind. There’s no television, but the owner Mavi runsmammaproof.org, a blog about exploring Spain with children in tow, so she’ll have plenty of ideas about how to keep the nippers entertained. Guests can even use a brand new Bugaboo Bee 3 during their stay, the perfect vehicle for transporting sleepy little ones to Gaudí’s Park Güell (15 minutes’ walk) or his Sagrada Família (20 minutes).

kidandcoe.com/destinations/gracia/the-torrent-de-les-flors-residence. From €95 a night for up to five people

Berlin

Berlin apartment

Voted best for kids by i-escape last year, these two-bedroom apartments are in a 19th-century block in Berlin’s bohemian Prenzlauer Berg district, within walking distance of dozens of child-friendly cafes and twokindercafes (play cafes): Onkel Albert on Zionskirchstrasse, and Das Spielzimmer on Schliemannstrasse. The owner, Simon, lives in the block with his family and is on hand to share tips on Berlin, recently proclaimed Europe’s most family-friendly city by home rental website Housetrip.com. Simon recommends the children’s museum Machmit, a five-minute tram ride away, and the Moritzhof children’s farm at the Mauerpark, with pony riding and a petting zoo. English-speaking babysitting available.
i-escape.com/brilliant-apartments/kids. From €132 a night for a family of four

Paris

Paris apartment

Close enough to the action but in a quieter residential area that is dotted with leafy parks and playgrounds, laid-back cafes and boulangeries, this two-bed apartment is a favourite with families. The number 76 bus takes you to the Louvre in 20 minutes and, if the kids behave themselves, afterwards to the Jardin de Tuileries next door. Here you can hire model boats to sail on the lake (€1 for 30 minutes). Trains from the RER station (10 minutes’ walk away) take you to Disneyland Paris within an hour.
homeaway.co.uk/p89542. From £400 a week for four people, minimum seven-night stay in peak season

Palma de Mallorca

Paris apartment

Next to its food market, Mercat de l’Olivar, in the buzzy pedestrianised old town, five minutes’ walk to a park and an indoor pool, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better-situated family apartment in Palma. It’s only a 15-minute walk to the beach and there’s an ice-cream shop on the corner too. There are two apartments – contemporary Lotus and Bougainvillea, more shabby chic – both with two bedrooms and sleeping up to six people. The owner, Zaretta, lives next door and is happy to share tips, let you borrow children’s books, DVDs, and a bucket and spade for beach days. The apartment is double-glazed and has a lift, although there are a few steps to climb first.
homeaway.co.uk/p438979. From €120 a night for up to six people

Amsterdam

Amsterdam apartment

Parents of toddlers beware: most apartments in Amsterdam come with steep, narrow stairs. Many also come with balconies. That’s why this spacious stair-free, balcony-free two-bedroom apartment is such a find. It’s ground floor but, thanks to the high ceilings, skylights and large windows, feels more like a loft apartment. It sleeps four comfortably but can accommodate six, or eight with the sofa bed. The location is great too – a short walk to the city’s largest park, Vondelpark, where kids can clamber about at the old-school playground and sample child-pleasingpoffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes) at Groot Melkhuis cafe.
airbnb.co.uk. From £148 a night for four people

Budapest

Budapest apartment

Kids will love rummaging around in the fancy dress cupboard in this large four-bedroom ground-floor apartment, with high ceilings, a large open-plan lounge and kitchen and access to a central courtyard garden. The apartment owners can arrange babysitting and an English-speaking kids’ day camp. They also run a minibus business, so can do airport pick-ups, city tours and get you discounts on family attractions, including Aquaworld(17 pools, 11 slides) and the hire of a bringo hintó, a four or six-man pedal-powered vehicle for exploring Margaret Island, a landscaped park in the middle of the Danube with a small zoo, playgrounds, and a musical fountain.
housetrip.com/en/rentals/5452. From €98 a night for seven people (10 with sofa beds)

Vienna

Vienna apartment

Children aged five and under can stay for free at these two funky ground-floor apartments, which can be joined together via an interior hallway for larger families (nine maximum). They’re just a five-minute walk from the city’s 3,200-acre Prater Park, home to one of the world’s oldest amusement parks with rollercoasters, bumper cars, a ghost train, maze, go-carts, trampolines, mini-golf, and Vienna’s famous giant ferris wheel. Also nearby is the traffic-free campus of the University of Economics, perfect for letting little ones run wild – and it has a toddler-friendly cafe. Another smaller park is just across the road. If the kids still aren’t tired, back at the apartment there’s a little front yard, lovely wooden toys, finger puppets and a rocking horse.
praterloft.at. €100 a night for four people

Rome

Rome apartment

This pretty three-bedroom apartment is five minutes from the Vatican and the Piazza del Popole and is even closer to two beautiful parks and arguably Rome’s best ice-cream parlour, Gelateria dei Gracchi. Tech-crazy kids, meanwhile, will be begging to go to Vigamus, the video-game museum, which is nearby. The owner, Audrey, used to live in the apartment with her son and daughter and they have kindly left behind many of their favourite toys and games, tidied away in boxes in their bright and cheery bunk-bed room.
homeaway.co.uk/p1187828. From €149 a night for up to six people

Lisbon

Lisbon apartment

Little ones will love catching the funicular to these small but charming hilltop apartments in Lisbon’s Pena district. Both have two bedrooms (one double, one twin) and spectacular views: across tiled rooftops and the river to the Rossio, Lisbon’s main square, or from Travessa to the ruins of Igreja do Carmo, Lisbon’s gothic monument to the city’s 1755 earthquake. Both apartments are packed with local antiques, but also have wooden train sets, jigsaw puzzles, children’s books, DVDs, and beach toys. The family-friendly beach, Santo Amaro, is a 30-minute train ride away.
sawdays.co.uk. From €85 a night, five-night minimum booking in peak season

Prague

Prague apartment

Even the children will appreciate the magical views from these elegant riverside apartments, looking across the Vltava to the Charles bridge and the city’s famous castle. These spacious and well-equipped apartments are on the first and second floor, accessed by 600-year-old spiral sandstone steps, but don’t worry, there’s also a private lift. Close by is the Kampa Park, which has a great playground for little ones and is home toHergetova Cihelna, a restaurant which does a lively Sunday family brunch with a kids’ corner, toys, professional babysitters and children under 1 metre tall eat for free. Each week there’s face-painting and entertainment, from magicians, pirates or Batman.
ownersdirect.co.uk. From €114 a night for four people

Netherlands’ worst July storm kills one, causes transport chaos

Zomerstorm - The emergency services at work in Leiden. Photo: ANP

AMSTERDAM, July 25 (Reuters) – One person was killed as the most severe July storm ever recorded in the Netherlands swept across the country on Saturday, delaying flights and disrupting road and rail traffic.

Dozens of flights were delayed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and authorities warned travellers not to take to the road as gale-force winds and rain lashed the country, prompting the meteorological service to issue a “Code Red” warning.

No trains were running at Amsterdam Central Station, and trams were halted across the city. Roads were blocked by fallen trees in many places around the low-lying country.

A motorist was killed in the eastern province of Gelderland when a tree fell on his car, and there were reports of people being injured in several cities.

With gusts of up to 121 kmh in coastal regions, it was the most violent July storm in the Netherlands since records began in 1901.

In The Hague, seat of the country’s government, emergency services warned that response times could be slowed because of the flood of storm-related calls.

Winds were observed to be slowing in Amsterdam by 1600 GMT, though the severe weather warning remained in effect.

DJ John Digweed: eight of the best clubbing capitals

JD(P).jpg

The British DJ and record producer gives us his inside track into the world’s coolest partying destinations

Miami

Miami is a year-round clubbing destination catering for everyone from super rich VIPs to underground clubbers looking for the cooler side of electronic music. I just played at Treehouseon South Beach, which has a real quirky feel to its layout and a very relaxed vibe.  British Airways flies to Miami

Watch: John Digweed live at Treehouse, Miami

San Francisco

This is easily one of my favourite cities in the world. San Fran is so beautiful during the day and very lively at night. Mighty is an old warehouse style venue with a state-of-the-art Avalon EAW sound system and super friendly and energetic crowd. I always have so much fun playing here. British Airways flies to San Francisco

Bombay

India has recently been bitten by the electronic music bug. The last time I was in town I played at a new club called Blue Frog which has several venues throughout the country. The crowd seemed really enthusiastic — there’s a new generation of young people who are working, have disposable cash, and just want to go out and have a good time. Read more: DJ schools in Mumbai 
 British Airways flies to Bombay

Las Vegas

People know Vegas for its mega hotels, casinos and clubs, but it’s also home to one of the world’s biggest music festivals — Electric Daisy Carnival runs over three days (19-21 June 2015) and leads the way in terms of out-of-this-world productions by some of the best DJs in the world.  British Airways flies to Las Vegas

“In Montreal, the crowds party right through to the afternoon on the following day”

Ibiza

For summer clubbing, it you can’t beat anywhere else on the planet. Ibiza has it all — great beaches, restaurants and nightlife. I have a residency at the legendary Pacha in Ibiza Town for its ‘Insane’ Friday night party, running until the first week of October.

British Airways flies to Ibiza

New York

New York is special for me — I was the resident DJ at club called Twilo from five years. The city’s got a great vibe. There’s a club there called Output in Williamsburg, which not only has an amazing sound system, it’s got a no camera/no bottle service/no VIP policy, so it attracts a proper clubbing crowd, without any pretension. I’d rather play for people who want to dance, not people who want to look at a DJ through a camera. British Airways flies to New York

Montreal

Home of the famous after hours nightclubbing scene (the clubs don’t open until after midnight), Montreal has always been a top city for me to play in. They invest in the clubs there and make them better. Stereo has one of the best sound systems in the world — not to mention a well-educated crowd who sometimes party right through to the afternoon the following day. British Airways flies to Montreal

Amsterdam

When it comes to electronic music, Amsterdam Dance Event is the place to be: the five-day conference and festival (14-18 October 2015) features over 2,000 DJs and act, so it’s a great time to network and party at the same time. There are parties on every night of the week across the city. I always host a Bedrock party at the Melkweg to a very up-for-it international crowd.  British Airways flies to Amsterdam

50 Places In Europe You Need To Visit In Your Lifetime Vol. I

Cliffs of Moher Ireland

Europe is home to historic cities, world-famous museums, and phenomenal restaurants. But there are also gorgeous hidden beaches, phenomenal ski resorts, and stunning natural formations like canyons, waterfalls, and gorges.

We’ve come up with the ultimate bucket list of travel destinations in Europe.

From biking along the canals of Amsterdam to tasting Chianti in Italy’s Tuscany region, here are 25 things you need to do in Europe in your lifetime.

Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, in the south of France.

Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, in the south of France.

Hit the slopes at Innsbruck, a breathtaking ski resort in the mountains of Austria.

Hit the slopes at Innsbruck, a breathtaking ski resort in the mountains of Austria.

Dance to house music at an underground nightclub in Berlin, like Tresor.

Dance to house music at an underground nightclub in Berlin, like Tresor.

Hug the cliffs while driving along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and visit the charming towns of Positano, Ravello, and Salerno.

Hug the cliffs while driving along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and visit the charming towns of Positano, Ravello, and Salerno.

Pass a day in the beautiful Tivoli gardens and amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Pass a day in the beautiful Tivoli gardens and amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Walk across the 612-year-old Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.

Walk across the 612-year-old Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.

Snap a photo at the Azure Window, a natural Limestone arch on the Maltese island of Gozo.

Snap a photo at the Azure Window, a natural Limestone arch on the Maltese island of Gozo.

Stay up all night partying on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

Stay up all night partying on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

Test your speed on Germany’s famous autobahn.

Test your speed on Germany's famous autobahn.

Take in the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea from the Greek island of Santorini.

Take in the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea from the Greek island of Santorini.

Play a hand of blackjack at the Casino de Monaco in Monte Carlo.

Play a hand of blackjack at the Casino de Monaco in Monte Carlo.

Hear the roar of Jägala Fall in Estonia, called “the Niagara Falls of the Baltics.”

Hear the roar of Jägala Fall in Estonia, called "the Niagara Falls of the Baltics."

Marvel at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

Marvel at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

Lounge on the stunning beaches of Lagos, Portugal.

Lounge on the stunning beaches of Lagos, Portugal.

Bike alongside the canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Bike alongside the canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Stroll the historic fortified city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Stroll the historic fortified city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Seek out Botticelli’s masterpieces, “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera,” inside Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

Seek out Botticelli's masterpieces, "The Birth of Venus" and "Primavera," inside Florence's Uffizi Gallery.

Play a round at Ballybunion, one of the most iconic golf courses in Ireland.

Play a round at Ballybunion, one of the most iconic golf courses in Ireland.

Marvel at the Moorish architecture and tranquil gardens of the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain.

Marvel at the Moorish architecture and tranquil gardens of the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain.

Smell the tulips at Keukenhof, a vast flower garden in Lisse, the Netherlands.

Smell the tulips at Keukenhof, a vast flower garden in Lisse, the Netherlands.

Catch a show at Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest arts festival.

Catch a show at Scotland's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest arts festival.

Test your limits and peer out from the edge of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Test your limits and peer out from the edge of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Drink a beer from a stein during Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

Drink a beer from a stein during Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

Explore the ruins of Rome’s stately Colosseum and imagine the gladiator fights that once packed the arena.

Explore the ruins of Rome's stately Colosseum and imagine the gladiator fights that once packed the arena.

Sip on a cocktail in a glass made entirely of ice at the ICEBAR, a bar inside Sweden’s ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi.

Sip on a cocktail in a glass made entirely of ice at the ICEBAR, a bar inside Sweden's ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi.

Why Amsterdam’s Prostitution Laws are Still Failing to Protect or Empower Women

Amsterdam may be heralded as a hub for liberalism and social progression following its legalisation of prostitution in 1988 and consumption of marijuana.

However, after a significant number of brothels have been closed due to suspected criminal activity in the best known Red Light district of De Wallen in Amsterdam, alongside the nature of displaying women in windows like pieces of meat, it shows that the system has not worked.

Women as Fast Food ‘Treat’

Visitors enter a peep-show theatre during the first-ever open day of Amsterdam’s red light districtReuters

Lumped into the same category as visiting a museum, the zoo or a gallery, the Red Light District is what people rave about it when visiting Holland’s capital city.

Lauding Amsterdam for its liberal-mindedness, observing (or visiting) the women in their ‘iconic’ window brothels in De Wallen, is a ‘must-see’.

Visitors enter a peep-show theatre during the first-ever open day of Amsterdam's red light district

For those that aren’t in the know – in Amsterdam, prostitution and the purchasing of sex is legal, and has been since 1988.

Walking through the Red Light District is supposedly a fun, unique experience – countless people had reassured me that I “had to visit it”, but I found the narrow, cobbled streets of De Wallen to be passively hostile, especially to women.

I couldn’t help but keep my head down and rush through, trying to avoid the gaze of the girls – many of whom looked younger than me – displayed in the glass windows like cuts of meat. Like the sweaty Febo snacks, couped up in their display cabinets.

In fact, the whole Red Light experience made me uncomfortable and sad.

These women – or rather, their bodies – were being reduced to nothing more than a tourist attraction. The fact that a girl in this city is presented in much the same way as a burger in a fast-food joint is somewhat disturbing to me.

Is the System Actually Working?

A visitor views the installation 'The Hoerengracht' ('Whore's Canal') by U.S. artists Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz at the National Gallery in central London November 17, 2009.

A visitor views the installation ‘The Hoerengracht’ (‘Whore’s Canal’) by U.S. artists Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz at the National Gallery in central London November 17, 2009.Reuters

Amsterdam City Council goes to great lengths to try and ensure the safety of the women working.

Police patrol the city; each room is equipped with a panic button; the women undergo regularly mandatory health checks and are encouraged to register their profession, to pay taxes.

The logic behind the legalisation of prostitution seems to be that by bringing the underworld into the light, the criminal aspect would surely dissolve.

In theory, women would be less likely to suffer abuse at the hands of pimps, less likely to be involved in human trafficking, and more likely to earn a decent wage.

And yet, the system hasn’t worked – it’s made things worse.

A prostitute in Amsterdam, a notoriously expensive city, will pay up to one hundred euro a night for the rent of a window.

She also has to pay a pimp, and pay taxes if she registers – though only 5% of prostitutes have actually registered for tax, perhaps for fear of the social stigma that comes with publicly announcing yourself as a prostitute.

Just in order to take some home for herself she’ll have to have sex with ten to fifteen people per day. The vocal union for the sex workers, De Rode Draad, went bankrupt and closed down in 2009. In addition to this, 13 sex workers have been murdered in De Wallen since 1990.

After twenty years of legalised prostitution, the council ended up cutting down the Red Light district’s brothels from 482 to 243 after bouts of criminal activity.

Why Legalising Prostitution is Rotten to the Core

De Wallen, for all its beautiful architecture and friendly people, is rotten to the core, much like the concept of legalised prostitution.

As these bored-looking girls stand behind their red-lit glass doors, looking out as much as we look in, we are supposed to feel better in the knowledge that this profession is sanctioned by the government, which in turn means that the government itself will profit off the sex trade.

However, this doesn’t automatically mean that these women have a choice in their work. I’m told there are many women who do enjoy prostitution; I’ve yet to hear of one, though, and bear in mind that the average age of a woman entering the sex trade is fourteen.

The problem is that the legalising of prostitutes creates a higher demand for these women. That’s where human trafficking comes in, and Amsterdam – along with much of Eastern Europe – is one of the most heavily trafficked places in the world, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

A Dutch prostitute sits behind her window in the red light district in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Dutch prostitute sits behind her window in the red light district in Amsterdam, The NetherlandsReuters

In 2008, six men were convicted of the “largest case of human trafficking ever brought to trial in the Netherlands. 

According to the investigation: “some of the victims were compelled to have breast enlargement surgery, and one defendant was convicted of forcing at least one woman to have an abortion.

“Women were beaten and forced to sit in icy water to avoid bruising. They also were tattooed.”

In 2009, two men were jailed for forcing around 140 girls between the ages of 16 and 23 into prostitution in Europe – and by controlling them using voodoo.

A now famous campaign from Stop the Traffik showed several window girls breaking into a dance routine; following the routine a huge screen displayed the message “Every year,thousands of women are promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly, they end up here.”

Amsterdam’s human trafficking problem is out of control, and try as they might to maintain a facade of safety for sex-workers, the fact remains: it is one of the most dangerous professions in the world and there is no guarantee of safety.

Amsterdam’s attempt to legalise prostitution, ‘the oldest profession in the world’, has failed, resulting in the acceptance of selling under-age, trafficked women as a tourist attraction.

Traffickers are making a mint off slavery, thanks to this ‘liberal’ concept.

Before we can even begin to consider the successful legalising of sex work, we must find a way to end the exploitation rampant in the sex trade – for a start, those who pay to have sex with human beings are rapists and should be prosecuted as such. Having sex with someone just so you can pay your rent is not consent.

Despite its honourable intentions, Amsterdam’s legalisation of prostitution is not liberal or empowering – it perpetuates the notion that women are the oldest form of currency.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: