Shutting down Amsterdam’s debauchery

Back in September, we brought you the news that one-third of Amsterdam’s red-light district will be shut down and transformed into housing. Now it seems the transformation will be even more drastic than previously thought. A wide swatch of the district will be replaced by “chic apartments, upmarket shops, galleries of high-quality hotels, and restaurants.”

The clean-up apparently has the full backing of the city, right up to the mayor. He said the city doesn’t want to completely ban prostitution; they just want to make it more discreet and limited to a couple of blocks. But it sounds like this could be more than just the usual back-and-forth on prostitution. As part of the plans, Amsterdam wants to “restore a number of historic buildings and reverse the decline of a large central area where brothels, sex clubs, and the coffee shops that sell marijuana line the city’s canals.”

On the upside, now the city wants to devote resources to restoring historic buildings, which is at least better than putting up more drab public housing or such. I may be reading too much into this, but looks like they want to take the Amsterdam out of Amsterdam.