Photos of Amsterdam's Red Light District in the 90s

Photographer Huub Prickaerts captured Amsterdam's Red Light District before the deluge of tourists.

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Dec 12 2016, 3:40pm

This article originally appeared on VICE Netherlands.

At first glance, it may seem like the Red Light District in Amsterdam hasn't changed much over the last few decades. Sex workers still offer their services to passers-by, and you can still find seedy bars and dealers on most corners. Yet, the area has undergone some significant changes over the past few years. The city's efforts to "clean up" the Red Light District have led to the closure of a number of coffeeshops and prostitution windows, while the deluge of tourists strolling around the neighborhood has modified the true essence of the district.

Photographer Huub Prickaerts lived in the Red Light District in the 90s and photographed the sex workers, cleaners, johns, criminals, neighbors, tourists, and addicts who made up the neighborhood. Because the Red Light District generally doesn't take kindly to photographers, Prickaerts would shoot from the hip while innocently looking the other way. That technique might be questionable, but his photos are spot on.

Huub Prickaerts photos of Amsterdam's Red Light District are now collected in the book De Wallen, Foto's 1993–1996, available from Uitgeverij Weesperzijde.