News of: Wednesday, October 29 2008,
Amsterdam is not the only city in the Netherlands with a Red Light District. Alkmaar, a smaller 17th century town 40km North of Amsterdam, has one too.
Like the district in Alkmaar it consists of large number of street windows behind which the ladies are sitting to solicit their services.
And like the one in Amsterdam it is under attack by the city officials.
The city of Alkmaar has announced that it wants to close 90 of the 125 'windows'. It does this on the same basis as the closures in Amsterdam: by not extending the license on the grounds of suspicions that the business is financed with 'criminal money'.
The Bibob law, a new law in the Netherlands, makes it possible for authorities to refuse or withdraw licences on the grounds of such suspicions.
The Alkmaar Red Light District is about a third of the size of the Amsterdam version, but in a smaller area. Unlike the Amsterdam RLD, it is not well-known by tourists. It is located in the centre, and its main street is called Achterdam.
Alkmaar does attract tourism, however. Its main attraction is the weekly cheese market, held in the summer season, for tourists. Alkmaar (about 100,000 inhabitants) has a picturesque old centre, and can easily be reached by train from Amsterdam.
See also this map of Alkmaar, indicating the main landmarks.
Cheese Market in Alkmaar
Tower 'Waagtoren' in Alkmaar