Exploring Amsterdam: Your Essential Guide to Red Light District Directions in 2024

Discovering the path to Amsterdam’s Red Light District can be daunting. Our 2024 guide simplifies Red Light District directions, offering a seamless journey into the heart of Amsterdam’s nightlife. With safety, etiquette, and insider tips, we ensure your visit is both thrilling and respectful. Dive into this essential guide and make your Amsterdam adventure unforgettable.

Overview of De Wallen

De Wallen is not only Amsterdam’s but arguably the world’s most famous Red Light District, a place where the city’s liberal attitudes toward sex work and cannabis are on full display. This historic area, with its narrow streets and iconic red-lit windows, dates back to the 14th century and has since evolved into a unique blend of cultural, historical, and entertainment venues. Visitors should understand that while De Wallen is a major tourist attraction, it is also a place of work for many people. It’s essential to approach the area with respect, observing the local laws and customs that govern behavior here. Most establishments have varying operating hours, typically from late afternoon to the early hours of the morning, so planning your visit accordingly is crucial.

Getting to Amsterdam

For those planning to visit De Wallen, getting to Amsterdam is the first step. The city is well-connected by air, with Amsterdam Schiphol Airport serving as a major international hub. For European travelers, train and bus services offer convenient alternatives, with direct routes from many cities. Upon arrival, Amsterdam Centraal Station is the main gateway for those coming by train or bus, located conveniently close to the city center. From here, visitors have a range of options for reaching De Wallen, including public transport, walking, or cycling. Tips for navigating from the airport or station include checking real-time travel updates and considering the purchase of an Amsterdam Travel Ticket for unlimited public transport use.

Public Transportation to De Wallen

Amsterdam’s comprehensive public transportation network makes getting to De Wallen straightforward. The city’s trams, buses, and metro services are operated by GVB and offer a reliable and efficient way to navigate. To reach De Wallen, visitors can use several tram and bus routes that stop nearby, with detailed maps and schedules available on the GVB website or app. When planning your journey, look for stops like “Nieuwmarkt” or “Dam Square,” which are both within walking distance of De Wallen. It’s advisable to purchase an OV-chipkaart (public transport chip card) or a day pass for convenience, which can be used across all modes of public transport.

Walking and Cycling Directions

Amsterdam is renowned for being a walkable and bike-friendly city, making these two of the best ways to explore De Wallen. From Amsterdam Centraal Station, it’s a short walk south through the historic city center to reach the district. The walk offers a chance to see some of Amsterdam’s iconic canals and architecture along the way. For those who prefer cycling, bike rentals are available throughout the city, offering a quintessentially Dutch experience. When cycling, be sure to follow local traffic rules and use designated bike lanes. Safety is paramount, so always lock your bike securely and be mindful of pedestrians and other cyclists.

Rules and Etiquette in De Wallen

Visiting De Wallen requires an understanding of local rules and etiquette to ensure a respectful and safe experience for everyone. Photography of the windows and workers is strictly prohibited, and visitors should always respect the privacy and dignity of those working in the district. While the Netherlands has a tolerant approach to cannabis, smoking it is not permitted everywhere; look for designated smoking areas and coffee shops. Engaging with sex workers should be done with respect and understanding of the laws governing these interactions. Supporting local businesses, from bars and restaurants to shops selling unique local crafts, can enhance your visit and contribute to the community. Remember, De Wallen is a vibrant neighborhood with residents and workers, so maintaining a respectful demeanor is key to a positive experience.

By following these guidelines and showing respect for the local culture and laws, visitors can ensure a memorable and respectful visit to one of Amsterdam’s most unique districts.

For those planning a visit to Amsterdam’s Red Light District, understanding how to navigate this iconic area is just the beginning of your adventure. Once you’re familiar with the directions and local etiquette, you might be looking for unforgettable experiences that capture the essence of Amsterdam’s nightlife. A must-visit is the renowned Moulin Rouge of Amsterdam, offering an array of dazzling performances that promise to enchant and entertain. Securing your tickets in advance will ensure you have a spot at one of the most sought-after shows in the city, blending perfectly with your exploration of the Red Light District’s vibrant atmosphere.

How do I get to the Amsterdam Red Light District (De Wallen) from Amsterdam Central Station?

The Amsterdam Red Light District, also known as De Wallen, is conveniently located about a 10-minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station. Upon exiting the station, head south towards Damrak, then continue onto Damstraat. This street will lead you directly into the heart of De Wallen. For those who prefer a more scenic route, you can also follow the canal paths. Signs and maps around the station and along the way can help guide you. It’s a straightforward and enjoyable walk, offering a first-hand glimpse of Amsterdam’s vibrant city life.

How to get from Amsterdam Red Light District to the Anne Frank Museum?

To get from the Amsterdam Red Light District (De Wallen) to the Anne Frank House, you have several options depending on your preferences for speed, scenery, and mode of transportation. The Anne Frank House is located on the Prinsengracht canal, approximately 2 km from De Wallen. Here are the most straightforward ways to make the journey:


Walking from the Red Light District to the Anne Frank House is a pleasant and straightforward route that allows you to experience the charm of Amsterdam’s canals and architecture along the way. The walk typically takes around 20 to 25 minutes.

  1. From the heart of the Red Light District, head west towards Dam Square.
  2. From Dam Square, continue west along Raadhuisstraat, which turns into Westermarkt.
  3. You will find the Anne Frank House on your left, just before the Westerkerk (Western Church).


Cycling is a popular and efficient way to get around Amsterdam. The bike ride from the Red Light District to the Anne Frank House takes about 10 minutes. You can follow the same route as walking. Amsterdam is very bike-friendly, but remember to lock your bike properly at the designated parking areas near the Anne Frank House.

Public Transport

Amsterdam’s public transport system offers a convenient alternative, although walking or cycling might be faster due to the short distance.

  1. Tram: Take tram line 13 or 17 from Nieuwezijds Kolk, a short walk from the Red Light District, and get off at the Westermarkt stop. The Anne Frank House is just a minute’s walk from there.
  2. Bus: Although not as direct as the tram for this particular route, buses also serve the area well. Check current routes and schedules using the GVB app or website for the best bus options.

Taxi or Rideshare

A taxi or rideshare can provide a direct and comfortable way to get from the Red Light District to the Anne Frank House, especially in inclement weather or if you’re traveling in a group. The drive typically takes about 10 minutes, depending on traffic.

Regardless of how you choose to travel, it’s a good idea to check the opening hours of the Anne Frank House and book tickets in advance, as it’s one of Amsterdam’s most visited attractions.

Are there any public transport options to De Wallen?

Yes, Amsterdam’s public transport system offers convenient options to reach De Wallen. You can take the tram, bus, or metro. The closest tram stops are Dam Square and Nieuwmarkt, both of which are a short walk from De Wallen. For the metro, the Nieuwmarkt station is the nearest, offering easy access to the area. Remember to check the latest schedules and routes on the official GVB website or use a travel app for real-time information.

Can I cycle to the Red Light District?

Absolutely, cycling is a popular and efficient way to get around Amsterdam, including to the Red Light District. There are numerous bike rental shops throughout the city, and many offer maps or advice for navigating to De Wallen. When cycling, be mindful of Amsterdam’s cycling rules, such as always locking your bike and using designated bike paths. Bike parking areas are available around De Wallen, but they can fill up quickly, so consider arriving early or exploring off-peak times.

What is the best time to visit the Red Light District?

The Red Light District is open and lively throughout the day, but it truly comes alive at night. The neon lights and buzzing atmosphere are most vibrant from 9 PM onwards. However, if you prefer a quieter visit to explore the area and its unique architecture without the crowds, consider going during the daytime. Keep in mind that some businesses, including peep shows and adult entertainment venues, only operate after dark.

Are there any specific rules or etiquette I should follow in the Red Light District?

Yes, it’s important to respect the rules and etiquette to ensure a respectful visit. Photography of the workers or their windows is strictly prohibited. Always be respectful and do not heckle or harass the workers. Drug use in public is frowned upon, and visitors are advised to stay clear of any illegal activities. Lastly, be mindful of pickpockets and always watch your belongings, as the area can get crowded.

Is it safe to visit the Red Light District at night?

Yes, the Red Light District is generally safe to visit at night, thanks to the presence of local law enforcement and the area’s bustling activity. However, as with any busy tourist area, it’s wise to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Avoid engaging with street solicitors or consuming substances from unverified sources. If you’re concerned about navigating the area alone at night, consider joining a guided tour for a safe and informative experience.

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