Window prostitution

It was to be expected. After a period of relative tolerance parochial Christian movements again got a tighter grip on Dutch society. At the end of the 19th century, religious representatives went out at night in an attempt to change both clients’ and whores’ attitudes, waving Bible texts in front of them and singing pious songs. The new moral, fiercely opposing prostitution, led to bans on brothels issued by the city council in 1897 and 1902. Prostitution was not, unlike in other cities, forbidden, however, and therefore business soon flourished again like before. Whores from other cities began rolling into Amsterdam, ‘the city of sin’, to try their luck.

One thing did change, however. The police did not allow women to entice their clients standing in their doorways. They could only do that from behind the window curtains. Therefore an increasing number of prostitutes now stood ticking on the glass, seducing men walking by to come in. While the scarcity of windows made owners of the premises raise the rent with exorbitant amounts, it turned out to be the beginning of window prostitution as it now stands in present-day Amsterdam.

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