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Amsterdam's Most Infamous District
The Red-Light District, or De Wallen as it is called in Dutch, is one of Amsterdam's oldest neighborhoods. Although walking around the Red-Light District can feel a bit voyeuristic, it is proof of Amsterdam's liberality and social tolerance and merits a quick tour. The area, which operates at all hours, is its most vibrant at night, when both customers and tourists come out to walk the streets. Red lights line the windows facing the canal, where women stand in order to advertise to their clientèle. (Note: it is illegal to take pictures or videos of the windows.) The streets surrounding the Red-Light district also offer shopping and theaters, as well as a museum devoted to erotica.
Damrak Amsterdam
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Red-Light District

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Damrak
Amsterdam, 1012 LH
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Odd perhaps, but De Oude Kerk (Old Church) really is in the center of the red-light district. Surrounded by cobblestones, the church has to this day maintained its medieval appearance, despite being stripped of its decoration during the Reformation in the early decades of the 15th Century. From its beginnings as a small wooden church, to growing into the beautiful building that exists today, Oude Kerk has come to be known as "Amsterdam's living room." The city's famous Stille Omgang is an annual event which commemorates the Miracle of the Host, and still takes place today annually around 15th March. This nocturnal procession ends at De Oude Kerk.

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This pint-sized statue located beside the Oude Kerk in the center of Amsterdam's Red Light District was erected in honor of the millions of people throughout Amsterdam (and the world) who work in the sex trade, willingly or not. The statue was commissioned by the Prostitute Information Center's founder and operator Mariska Majoor, and was unveiled in March 2007 as part of the Red Light District's Second Open Day. Belle is the work of Dutch artist Els Rijerse and is made of steel reinforced bronze on top of a granite plinth.

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Lovingly refered to as the 'Venice of the North', Amsterdam is a city with unique geographical features. Through the Defence Line of Amsterdam, water was used as a shield to protect the city in times of war. The fortification includes seriers of forts constructed around the city with tracts that can be filled with water to refrain the enemies from entering the city. The Defence Line of Amsterdam has never witnessed combats but its unique construction and use of hydraulics has earned it an UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

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Amsterdam's mysterious unknown sculptor created this small plaque set into the ground close to the Oudekerk, the old church in the center of the city's Red Light District. Molded from bronze, the piece takes the shape of a man's hand touching a lady's breast and is often considered to be an homage or mark of respect for Amsterdam's many sex workers, much like the nearby statue, Belle. While nobody knows who created or placed it in secrecy so many years ago, the Borstplaat, which literally means the breastplate has been a part of Amsterdam since 1993.

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The Makelaers Comptoir is a former guildhall located in the city of Amsterdam. This 17th Century building is one of the few guildhalls left in the city. It was constructed between 1633 to 1634 as a brokers' house. These brokers coordinated the trade practices that took place within and outside the city. The house has a stepped gable roof and a front pediment gate having two beautiful Ionic pilasters. Although not open to the public, it is often rented out for small occasions like meetings or dinners.

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Amsterdam's Red Light District is one of the infamous attractions that have come to make Amsterdam the edgy capital that it is. Although this district, located between Centraal Station and Niewenmarkt, is best known for being home to a large concentration of brothels and sex shops due to the Netherlands' legalization of prostitution, there is much more to see than just the risque display windows. The Red Light District is actually one of the oldest areas in the city, and also contains many of the city's best-known coffeeshops, the historic Oude Kirk (Old Church), several museums and many bars and restaurants. The district has a reputation for being a bit gritty when the sun goes down, so people who may be nervous to experience this unique area may enjoy touring during the day.

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The Amstelkring Church, Our Lord in the Attic, is housed in a 17th-century canal house with authentic living rooms on the lower floors and a preserved Roman Catholic Attic Church upstairs. A maze of rooms, halls and staircases with lots of peepholes remind you of Holland's Golden Age. Following the Alteration in 1578 (when Amsterdam became Protestant), Catholics were not permitted to practice their religion in public. These churches were privately owned and designed not to be recognizable as churches from the outside. The building now houses a museum.

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0,8 332 42 near_similar 5|136 0 ^:^Anita Mitchell^:^Christian Van Der Henst S.^:^Colleen Taugher^:^Luke Walker^:^quinn norton^:^Ville Miettinen^:^Qiou87^:^Rungbachduong ^:^http://www.flickr.com/photos/nitz/^:^http://www.flickr.com/photos/cvander/^:^http://www.flickr.com/photos/70268842@N00/^:^http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukewalkerlukewalker/^:^http://www.flickr.com/photos/quinn/^:^http://www.flickr.com/photos/wili/^:^http://www.flickr.com/photos/qiou87/4923585525/^:^http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:De_Wallen.JPG The Netherlands
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