And thanks to the below article, I might never experience the district as it currently exists! Boo-hoo...
Reading it, the first thing I thought of was the clean-up of Times Square here in New York City, during the early to mid-1990s - an area that was previously thought of as a cesspool, overrun with crime and home to sex shops and peep shows - essentially, New York's on Red-Light District! Now you can't walk 1 inch without hitting a freaking tourist, looking for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum or the MTV studios, amongst several other attractions.
So, might one of the more liberal democracies in the world be getting a tad more conservative? Is this the beginning of a eventual shift in policy, despite that fact the the district is one of Amsterdam's main tourist attractions?
From Time Magazine Online:
For Maurits Van Brunschot, the breaking point came nearly 21 years after he first settled amid the cobblestone alleyways of De Wallen, Amsterdam's red-light district. Van Brunschot began taking his infant daughter to day care. The neighborhood's public nursery was squeezed between two brothels, where nearly naked women in the windows beckon adult passersby. "Can you imagine this is what she sees every day?" says Van Brunschot, a food-company executive.
That question is perhaps too rarely posed by the millions of people who visit Amsterdam each year. For them, the city's liberal laws and attitudes offer a stark contrast to the heavy policing of sex and drugs elsewhere in Europe and in the U.S., and make this tiny neighborhood one of Amsterdam's most intriguing attractions. "Often people go to the museums and then to the red-light district," says the city's mayor, Job Cohen, sitting in his office with a sweeping view of the Ij River. "It is part of the image of tolerant Amsterdam."Until now, that is. In a break with Amsterdam's "anything goes" attitude, Cohen and city officials have vowed to finally crack down on what they say are extensive criminal networks operating in the neighborhood.
The rest here: AMSTERDAM CLEANS UP