Red Light Blues
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Red Light Blues

Ratings: 6.81/10 from 74 users.

Red Light BluesThis documentary is about the Red Light district of Amsterdam, as it is going through radical, far-reaching changes, the consequences of which might be felt all over Europe.

Red Light Blues starts with the Red Light district’s Open Day, which was organized by Mariska Majoor (37), an ex prostitute who runs an information center on the Red Light district. This Open Day was sort of an idyllic reflection of paradise. All this was in total contrast to what was going on in the political corridors. Politicians and business people, for their close-mouthed reasons, were beginning to push for the closure of the Red Light District.

There’s a total freedom of religion in this particular world as the prostitutes and the clients don’t care a bit if you’re a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or a Buddhist. The discrimination of color also doesn’t exist here. The Netherlands was the world’s first country to introduce the Law of Tolerance and thus the first country to stop treating prostitution in a hypocritical way. Until now.

The City reclaimed hundreds of windows, under the pretext that they were run by criminals, painted them all in white and rents them out to fashion designers.

We’ll attempt to understand what’s going on by talking with Amsterdam’s Mayor Mr. Job Cohen, with prostitutes and ex-prostitutes, with ordinary people, politicians, clergy people, police officers, sociologists, historians and tourist guides.

So, there is still hope. Red Light Blues is a light-hearted, straightforward (no hidden camera) documentary with a touch of poetic flair.

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7 years ago

Women sitting in the window, selling themselves to men, like livestock. While everyone else but them makes more money off of it.

Incredibly lunatic, very patriarchal idea that stems from Madonna whore complex... BAD IDEA? You think?

Rocky Racoon
10 years ago

This is capitalism at it's most transparent level-all social relations based on wage labour is exploitation. The question of whether sex is to be a commodity is really a reflection of a greater social struggle. Social prescriptions against can be seen as resistance to this commodification and it can also been seen as one class not wanting to pay for the production and reproduction of the next generation of workers and poses the argument that women should get paid for housework. This was somewhat solved by giving women equal rights outside the home to be exploited just like a man at a slightly greater level. When I see the Margaret Thatcher's and the Madeline Albright's and the Hillary Clinton's of the world in position of great power starting wars killing innocent women and children I see just what a monstrosity the social relations of capital are. So should women.

10 years ago

As a Canadian tourist I did not go to Amsterdam to visit the Red Light District, and that is not the reason I hope to visit again. Amsterdam/the Netherlands has so much more to offer, things to be truly proud of. Perhaps boarding up the windows will bring awareness to EVERYTHING else.

10 years ago

Funny part is that the women at the Red light district are hardly ever from Amsterdam...Holland girls don't want to work as prostitutes, What you will find is girls from other countries with less opportunities to get other jobs. U gotta wonder how many of them are trafficked. Probably more than we know. and how many are there because the circumstance forces them and not by choice.

10 years ago

random long shot of the horse? lol

10 years ago

"Why d hell you have to make such documentary when you're not willing to listen?!"

I strongly agree to this in all forms. The businesses and girls evolving around the RLD's are often 'put a sticker on' as if it were a true nightmare and a 'bad' place and job. And by the way, making it a decent place, wouldn't make this work a decent job in the peoples eyes. The girls are looked at and laughed at like animals and this will remain whether it will be decent or not.

For those of you who are curious about the 'feeling' of Amsterdam's Red Light District, I have this for you: CamsterDamn. It's a freshly launched (Dutch made if I'm correct) virtual/online version of the Red Light District over there. Perhaps this will spark up some interesting conversations over here since it looks quite dead at the moment and not much useful reactions are posted.

If anyone wants to hear more about the RLD, feel free to post your questions here and I'll be glad to answer them (correctly) since I'm from the area myself and know exactly what's going on, and what not.


10 years ago

"Bias!" a word best describes d host. You can't expect 'all' people to agree that the Amsterdam Government sucks for having such aim to eliminate d Red Light District. It sounds that every time he interviews a populace who pity 'some' of those prostitutes who were forced to work so for some reasons, he contradicts and try to butt in his own belief. Why d hell you have to make such documentary when you're not willing to listen???!!! C'mon!!!

About d film itself, "Temptation" if you make it legal then most (if not all) would give in. It's not just about d country, it's about morality as well. Never did it became a standard of morality or respect to pay woman for sex nor treat woman that way or use them for d benefit of those who own those prostitutes for money. It all roots to 'money'. If only government can transform such place to a decent work place then all these women can have a decent job as well.

10 years ago

The problem with documentary's like these are that there are too many changes going on in The Red Light District to keep track of things - and make an up to date docu. What I've just watched is 'old news' (I'm from Amsterdam myself) and loads of things have been changed already after this documentary came out. One thing I do want to mention here is the following.

What everybody says about those girls being forced into prostitution, that is NOT TRUE whatsoever. Yes, there are girls being forced, but from what I know (and I know), this is less than 10% of all working girls. Of course, that doesn't 'talk anything right', but PLEASE stop whining about how sad those working girls are. They are NOT sad. They work their asses off for a certain (very luxurious) lifestyle, and they chose to do so by their selves.

Trust me, those 'sad' faces you might've seen aren't so sad anymore when you see the bunny's hopping across the P.C. Hooftstraat the next day, spending their hard-earned cash.

10 years ago

This is nothing more than propaganda piece for pimps. Crap documentary, and no one gives a crap about Holland anymore, because it's made itself into a laughingstock. Why would you want to visit some crap place like that when you can see real European culture. Dutch "tolerance" is a recent invention of social engineering. It has nothing to do with traditional Dutch society.

10 years ago

This is so sad, making a documentary about one of the worst crimes, open your minds people sex is good, sex is the best but not like this. Respect women, men animals, nature. If god any god exists i hope he throws the damn apocalypse on our tiny brains to finish this joke. The word ''human'' shouldn't even exist you disgust me. oh and f*** me with that prostitutes want to be prostitutes just help them make them change their mind or make the world a better place so they wont have to do this to get easy money.

10 years ago

who gives a **** how long it took to reestablish a jewish community there and what would have happent if you wouldnt reestablish it ? What does it has to do with the red light district and why is it shown on this documentary ??

Jurrit van Beest
10 years ago

I don't think this is a very good documentary. I'm from Amsterdam myself and i think the picture this doc. gives is a completely different images than the truth. The girls they spoke to are all dutch and they are not the problem, the problem is with the Eastern European girls. Because it's really hard to track where there money is going and if there is any pressure from within there own country. So in my eyes the only way to bring back the ''old red light district'' is by work much closer with European governments to check the girl and to give them the information they need to get rid of there pimps. Because most of the girls are really scared of the dutch government and police cause of the stories they've bin told by there pimps who can speak to them in there own language. If they close the windows the transparency would become even worse and the girl will and up underground. Men will always find a way to prostitutes! I just pick them up in bars ''ooo snap he didn't"

Sailor Bones
10 years ago

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.

It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.

-Hermann Hesse

Sailor Bones
10 years ago

Take the women out of the windows and replace them with provocatively dressed mannequins, right. Makes sense.

I know plenty of women who work in the sex industry out of choice. There are plenty of outlets today which don't involve street corners or pimps but however a woman wants to do it is her choice. The people bitching and moaning about women's rights here have obviously never spoken to a prostitute. None of the women on this doc seemed disturbed or 'dying inside' over anything except the prospect of unemployment, and over the usual gripes everyone has about not always enjoying their jobs.

Don't think you can speak on behalf of people according to your own personal morals and presumptions. Women always have and always will choose to sell their bodies for money, whatever you think about it. They make a hell of a lot more money in a shorter amount of time than selling your soul for 40 hours a week in a retail outlet so it really isn't that hard to comprehend as a life choice.

P.S That artist was an utterly pretentious wanker.

10 years ago

Nice post!

Here are some real The Red Light Secrets

10 years ago

my comment in this show is not to comment any down comment bcoz, who knows how hard might be the rascal cost to think what he filed it up as a documented point and shown it for the shake of my place Amsterdam. this s tow tal-e bul s...t you know............& it is really i swear it. thnx.

11 years ago

this would be a great doc if they didnt choose such a creepy old r*tard to do the interviews .. sa sa sa spit it out m*ron and ask a half intelligent question ( put the booz down for a day and comb you hair buddy )

11 years ago

One of those ****** speaks of the men servicing the women as if the women are just drooling to give some smelly, fat slob a **** job.
Isn't it other other way around - the women servicing the men?

11 years ago

I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Entirely too much focus on what men think. Who gives a **** what they think?

11 years ago

This documentary has completely missed the point. It has been very selective in who it has chose to interview- what about the 75+% of trafficked women working off lengthy made up debt to violent and exploitative pimps? Be a sex worker by choice, fine, but don't make a documentary that misleads people to believe that the women in the windows are there by choice and are protected, as it is simply not true. On a less formal note, all of the presenters in this documentary gave me the creeps, the over enthusiastic guy with the ginger beard, pervy grandad, and dracula. Eurgh.

11 years ago

I guess I hav an alternative view from most of society, but the way I see it most people do not enjoy their jobs, but they do it for money. I have worked many jobs I hate for the money, what is the difference for a prostitute? people just think they can judge because of the nature of the work but hey, even these women have thier purpose. They may be preventing some me from committing rape or child abuse, who knows... I'm just saying for the good money its not the worst thing ever. Hopefully people will not be so judgemental

11 years ago

I think the red light district of Amsterdam is sad. Hordes of people gawking at women dressed in provocative clothes. The whole atmosphere is sad and grotty.

Prostitution should be legal everywhere but it belongs behind closed doors. The Australian model works well. Brothels for the most part are non descrpit buildings, there are no women on display. You simply walk in, meet the women and choose the one you want. And as a result there are no women on the streets.

I think more tourists go to Amsterdam to smoke pot than visit a red light district. The sex tourists travel to Asia.

Keep the district and the prostitutes but get rid of the windows.

Bradley Hatfield
11 years ago

RON PAUL 2012!

11 years ago

most of u r dumb as hell #1 mr be thankful prostitutes are the most likey to raped n or killed by impotent ass men # 2 u wanna say they lied they this they that just because her job is sex doesnt make the subject any less embarrassing when talking about it w someone who may or may not be looking down on u but u know one thing they aint never sat where u have and most free choosing prostitutes are ok with the job but those illegally trafficked tricked n scared out of their minds in foreign countries are the ones who feel sever degradation u wanna educate urself y dont u pay for one hour and actually talk to one

Raptor jones
11 years ago

Can anyone from the Netherlands confirm if crime rate has risen throughout other areas of the city, as a direct result of these reformations?

11 years ago

A beautiful documentary i must say

11 years ago

closing the red district.. can u imagine how much the rate of rapes would increase if u eliminated this job...?? think about it, specialy women who judge prostitutes.. u should really thank them that your ass is not been raped every night..

11 years ago

How dare you silly squirrel. It is people like you who have created such a stigma around prostitution!!These women are not 'dying inside' nor are they 'dehumanised objects'. Maybe you should take your head out of your ass and go educate yourself before you throw such insulting comments around!!!!

silly squirrel
11 years ago

I agree that the interviewer was creepy and disgusting. I noticed how he was licking his lips when he was asking the young prostitute of Surinami descent whether she enjoyed the work.. As for a genuine answer to this question, I believe that none of the girls gave one; I could easily sense that they lied because it was more comfortable to do so. I guess if you work in this job you don't want to admit to yourself and others that you are dying from the inside.. Being a dehumanized object is not a pleasure to any woman, prostitute or not.

Danny Akker
11 years ago

I live in the Netherlands, 200 meters of a prositute neighborhood in the second biggest city the Hague.
What was the year that the film was made, the movie shows an extreme tolerant Netherlands where even policofficers say that they love the red light district. Today that would be absolute impossible The last 10 year the Netherlands changed a lot. Looking back, maybe it became visible in 2002 with the killing of an popular anti muslim extreme right wing leader some days for the elections in combination with the 9/11 anxiety. The public view changed from appreciating tolerance towards a critical something as; we and the government have been far to tolerant towards foreigners, drugs prostitution and it is failing. Our country as we knew it has vanished. And it is all caused by the foreigners and the liberal approach. With the public opinion also politics changed and police approach changed towards a no tolerance policy.

I am sure that most of the public figures talking so positive then about the red light district and prostitution wouldn't dare to tell the same today. Most of the Dutch in 2012 will not appreciate it an call it weak, leftish socialistic crap.
Nowadays prositution in the Netherlands has an image of exploitation and woman traffic.
You can still smoke weed and go to the red light district. but the whole image of an extreme tolerant the Netherlands, where most people are positive about foreigners, prostitutes and coffeeshops is outdated.

11 years ago

I don't know wat to say about it.But i'm not Hypocritic..neither My Heart is Saying it's just a reality way of Life..
But my Brain is saying it's worst way of Life..all this Tolerance for wat?..It's for the Damn Money

Where is my mind.. Where is my mind....wherre is my mind... hahahaahha... yeaahhh!..

Zoe Pardee
11 years ago

I love this film. I have two new heroes in Mariska Majoor and Xaviera Hollander. What the city of Amsterdam is trying to do is like trying to turn New Orleans into something like Dallas, TX. It would be a blaspheme.

Cody Austin
11 years ago


Firstly, this section is labeled as "Comments" not "Reviews". Perhaps you can go to the webmaster and discuss their choice of titles. Additionally, the comment policy does not prohibit respectful discussion.

Lastly, you are hypocritical - as you did not post a review yourself.

11 years ago

Closing the red light is equal to closing the window through which the charm which struck the eyes of the tourists. I do not stand for the close up the windows. If these girls are ok and like what they do, it is no offence to any one.

11 years ago

Okay, as a Dutch girl, I am outraged.. How dare they even touch that part of our history.. I've heard Job Cohen say once that 'All that Amsterdam and Holland is known for is drugs, sex and paintings..' well excuse me, mister Mayor, but I beg to differ. What the Dutch are known for is tolerance, respect, realistic views on life and knowing it has to be enjoyed. By taking away both the coffeeshops and the red light district, they're slowly robbing Holland of al it's authenticity. Well I, for one, will not stand for it!

11 years ago

don't close please ,,, that is big moment of the world history.

11 years ago

the right wing strikes again. they will subvert and lie about anything they can use to get into office and power, sicos

Daniel Ng
11 years ago

This documentary may have more credit if not for the weird creepy interviewer.

11 years ago

"we come for the culture FOR the lady's"? pffttt...

11 years ago

what does it take when I installed Adobe flash and the video says I didn't

11 years ago

annoying when people use this review forum as a place to discuss social topics or have personal conversations back and forth. Makes it difficult for people who want an actual review of the film....

use facebook or something if you want to have personal discussions unrelated to the film please

11 years ago

Lmao The best Pizza! PY IZ and flipped the A Z you are the Sprinkles of Cheese! ;)

Paolo Milano
11 years ago

I've seen this before in London's Soho/Covent Garden. The government kicking out all the local, individually run businesses to make space for large corporations. Denying some people the right to make a living so that other people (who are ready to give the government more money) can make a living there instead.

11 years ago

hi!does anyone know what is the song played with the clarinet??

11 years ago

Boredom is humanity greatest enemy...An ex gigolo and a decrepit old man are worried that they can't have open prostitution and can't see naked hookers on the streets of Amsterdam...I question the intellectual and moral integrity of a person that considers this important.
Anyway, they speak a lot about freedom as an absolute when actually they talk about pleasure, about the history of prostitution in Netherlands as this justifies it, about the free choice of the prostitutes like human trafficking doesn't exist, about how there can't be human sexuality without prostitution and it is the normal and healthy way etc; it is all grossly biased and there isn't a single reason to take them seriously.
In this case I will easily take the side of the right-wing neo-conservatives.

11 years ago

its the same people like Eric prince and James dobson those neo-conservative Christians who want to control everybody.

11 years ago

I suspect that all this has got less to do with fighting crime, and a lot more to do with the current trend for western governments attempts to control people ever more. I don't think that any reasonable person would disagree that people trafficking is wrong, but that practice goes on in other major cities, where prostitution isn't legal. It's certainly a problem in London. So I doubt that the steps they're taking, will fix it. Assuming that's even as big a problem as they say it is.

As for reclaiming the shop windows and replacing them with fashion designers, I suspect that's doomed to failure. London and Paris have got the whole fashion scene angle well and truly covered. Amsterdam is hardly likely to muscle in on that action.

Amsterdam has it's very own niche market, with no competitors. So to get rid of it all now, especially when economies the world over are faltering, smacks of cutting off their nose to spite their face.

They're cracking down on coffee shops in an effort to combat drug tourism as well now, probably because people are having too good a time, and actually enjoying themselves. I certainly did when I went. :D

As heart-rending and captivating as the story of Anne Frank is, a tour of her house probably isn't going to pull in the crowds anywhere near as much as sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll does.

11 years ago

I had never watched a doc about Amsterdam and I was eager to watch this one. Sadly, it would seem, the red light district is slowly being dismantled. It was said that the girls will either go underground or use the internet, which would be just like the rest of the world...unfortunately. I would have liked to have watched it evolve and maybe (optimist is creeping in), they will allow a certain percentage to stay?
The mention of prostitution being the oldest profession in the world sounds like a cliche, but that could only be because I am getting older?
In this increasingly virtual world we are living in, I imagine it will become more utilized in through any means.
Can't help but reflect on societal controls on a profession that has obvious clientele being a fester for suppression, which will bring about shit I don't even want to think about.
I can't say I personally condone prostitution, but I know decisively, that there is an obvious need for it...what is baffling to me is that women are increasingly becoming a client--there is definitely a disconnect when the two parties can't mutually come together...and the concluding thought has to be the desire for a disconnected/one-timer/stranger encounter?
Anywho, after writing all this I'm realizing this doc brought up some purty good what am I gonna do? LMAO

11 years ago

one more documentary about prostitution from man point of view, all the time a bout dick's how unhappy they are but never about woman, how much more they can do then just to be peace of meat that u pay for,,,,

11 years ago

their speaking facts and that's what i only deal in fact