What are our members’ opinions on the possible establishment of an Erotic Center (EC) in Zuidas? On Thursday, January 11, Hello Zuidas hosted a round-table discussion on the Erotic Center at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The purpose of this gathering was to provide answers to questions from the members.

For this occasion, Hello Zuidas invited Pierre van Rossum, Director of Public Order and Safety of the City of Amsterdam, as a speaker. Olivier Otten, Director of Hello Zuidas, acted as the moderator. “There are concerns about this project in Zuidas,” he introduced the meeting. “Hello Zuidas is also critical and has questions about this project. We are a public-private organisation; how do we deal with such a complex project? Hello Zuidas wants to be a guide to all the possibilities that exist.” 

Monster Alliance
Several organisations have already united against the establishment of the EC in Zuidas under the banner of the Monster Alliance. There are now 40 parties, including the RAI, ROC, and Nhow hotel, among others. The Monster Alliance has drafted a manifesto and a petition. The contact person for the Monster Alliance is Martijn van Koolhoven. Parties can join this monster alliance, and inquiries can be made to Martijn Koolhoven via martijn@koolhovenenpartners.nl

Red Light District Approach
After this introduction, Van Rossum took the floor. The Director of Public Space and Safety explained why the municipality wants to do this. Since the 1980s, the municipality has aimed to address the situation in the Red Light District. This happened in three phases. Initially, the focus was on reducing drug dealing and user-related disturbances. Then the emphasis shifted to reducing crime and reversing the area’s degradation. Since 2018, with the arrival of Mayor Femke Halsema, the municipality aims to reduce the nuisance caused by mass tourism in the Red Light District and enhance the area’s livability. “From that perspective, the idea for an EC was born,” explained Van Rossum. “The appeal of Red Light District tourism must diminish. To achieve this, the broader ‘City Center Approach’ was developed, with window prostitution being one part of it.”

Location Choice
The municipality wants to reduce the number of windows in the Red Light District: the plan is to close 100 windows. “But not without offering a safe alternative to sex workers. That alternative is an EC,” said Van Rossum. This process runs from 2020 to 2030. It started in 2020 with eight intended locations, which were reduced to four search areas in 2022. Late last year, the council chose to proceed with the Europaboulevard location. Van Rossum explained the considerations of the council in choosing this location next to the A10 and the Amstelpark. “After discussions with market parties and stakeholders, an impact analysis Zuidasdok, and a mobility scan EC, this location emerged as the one with the best opportunities and the fewest drawbacks.”


High-Quality Establishment
Van Rossum outlined the future EC. “We expect around 4,500 visitors per day. The EC will have 100 spots, and 100 windows on the Red Light District will be closed. The EC will be of high quality and will have a strong connection with the cultural sector and the LGBTQI+ community. There will be no coffee shops. The plan is for the EC to be operational in 2031.”

Next Steps
There is now a preliminary decision from the council on the EC. What is the next step? “If the city council approves, then the development process begins, and residents and other stakeholders can be involved. The municipality will not be the investor or operator,” emphasized Van Rossum. “Market parties will handle this.”

The city council organised a (lengthier) public input night on February 1. On Thursday, February 15, the topic has been discussed in the committee on General Affairs (AZ). During this meeting, it emerged that a majority of the political parties are in favour of the intended location of the erotic centre near the A10 South. In March, the city council votes on the preferred location during a council meeting.

Anything is Still Possible
Despite all the attention and controversy surrounding the EC, there is still a chance the plan may not proceed. “It’s a project with 30 to 40 million euros in development costs by market parties. There are several decision-making moments where it might not go through. The city council, for example, can say they are not in favor,” Van Rossum told those present. “Then we have to start again. If given the green light, parties can object according to the formal procedure, and it goes to court.” Questions about the EC can be emailed to: erotischcentrum@amsterdam.nl