False facts about prostitution murders
That's what a tweet says that's going around on the internet. The information is based on a message of a cold case team from the Dutch police (source here), who are investigating cold case murders. In the message, it states that 127 prostitutes have been murdered in the past 30 years. And this is exactly where the so called 'fact' in this tweet goes wrong.

But let's start with the beginning. The tweet states 127 murders, yet does not mention a time frame, giving people the idea that the same time frame is being used  for the Swedish murders and the Dutch murders, as even an article claims here. This is however not the case. The 127 murders come from the past 30 years, from 1987 to 2013, while the 1 murder from Sweden has been counted from 1998, only 15 years. This means the time frame for Sweden (15 years) is only half of the time frame from The Netherlands (30 years).

But there's more wrong with this so called 'fact'. Let's take for example the very simple fact that prostitution in The Netherlands is legal, and therefore very visible and open. While on the other hand in Sweden clients have been criminalized, forcing prostitution to go underground.
So while in The Netherlands prostitutes are easy to find, and many even legally registered at the Chambers of Commerce, making it easier to track down if someone was a prostitute or not, in Sweden the authorities have no idea who is a prostitute and who is not. It's no wonder Sweden only counted 1 murdered prostitutes, because they have no idea which murdered women are prostitutes and which ones are not, except for that one case. And even if a client knows the prostitute that was murdered, he's never going to admit it, since that would not only make him a possible suspect, but also means he could be arrested for visiting a prostitute. This only proves that Sweden has completely no idea about how many prostitutes there are, where they are, or even how many of them are in danger. In short, a very concerning situation.
So it basically comes down to this. If you're a prostitute in Sweden, if you're in danger, you're in big trouble, because the police will never come to help you, because they don't know where you are and what you're doing. While in Holland prostitutes have police protection, and clients are less scared to speak up.

So the statistics from Sweden aren't going to help us very much. Since first of all they don't know who the prostitutes are, but secondly also don't want to admit that their precious Swedish model has only endangered prostitutes rather then protected them.
But what could help us out are the statistics from Holland. After all, prostitution has been legalized since 2000, but even before it had been legalized it wasn't criminalized. This meant that prostitution before it was legalized was very much visible, as it is today, but just less protected. So the question now comes down to: did less murders happen in The Netherlands since the legalization in 2000? Because if indeed less murders where committed after the legalization, it would prove that legalization protects prostitutes better then not legalizing it, like how they did in Sweden.

The Netherlands legalized prostitution back in 2000. This means that the 127 murders do not only come from a period in which prostitution had been legalized, but also includes a period in which prostitution had not been legalized. In fact, we're talking about 13 years of legalized prostitution AND 17 years of not legalized prostitution. In short, we cannot make an automatic assumption that those 127 murders where purely the cause of the legalization, especially not since the majority of the time period came from a period before it had been legalized.
Fortunately though the internet can give us a hand here. There are a number of websites (source 1 and 2) which keep track of prostitution murders. They try to track back as many murders as possible, but as you can imagine, the older the cases are, the more difficult it becomes to find them back. This will re-assure us that probably the statistics from after 2000 are pretty much up to date, and as we go back in years it has become increasingly more difficult to find back data about it. This especially has to deal with the fact that since the introduction of the internet, it has become much easier to trace back information, while before the internet it's much more difficult to trace murders back. In short, the more recent the information, the more accurate they'll be.

Now to be fair in counting the number of murders, I'll count the number of murders from before and after the legalization over the same time frame, meaning from 1986 to 1999 for non-legalized prostitution murders, and from 2000 to 2013 for legalized prostitution murders, both a period of 13 years.
Doing a head count from the provided sources, I come down to 40 murders before the legalization (of which the last murder want back as far as 1989 which means I probably missed a few from the years before that), and 27 murders since prostitution has been legalized. To give you people a little bit of an idea, this means that before the legalization of prostitution in Holland every year around 3 prostitutes where murdered, while since it has been legalized this has dropped down to about 2 prostitutes each year. This means that since prostitution has been legalized, one prostitute less is getting killed each year. In total there have been 14 less killings in the same period after legalization in contrast to before the legalization. That's a decrease of 35% less murders since it's been legalized!

But let's also think about this for a moment. Why would legalizing a profession would make that profession less safe? Any normal functioning person can come to only one conclusion, which is that this doesn't make any sense at all. After all, if a job is legal, people have rights, people are protected and people aren't afraid and in need of hiding. This makes upholding the law for the police much easier, solving crimes much easier, but more importantly, preventing crimes much easier.
What explanation could other people give as to why pushing a profession underground would make it safer? Every idiot knows that pushing things underground only makes it easier for criminals to get their hands on. Look back at the 1930's and the prohibition of alcohol, did that make the alcohol industry more or less safe? I'll give you a hint, Al Capone wasn't arrested just because he didn't pay his taxes.
The only logical explanation a decrease in murders of prostitution by criminalizing it's clients would work, is if all the prostitutes would decide to either quit or move out of the country. That's something the Swedish government of course would love to claim, but we all know that's not true. Just because the Swedish government can't find the prostitutes, or very little of them, doesn't mean that they're not there. It just means it's gone underground, to places where authorities have no control, and justice is at the hands of those who've got the most muscle. And I can tell you right now, the prostitutes aren't the ones with the most muscles.

The facts stated in the tweet above is FALSE. First of all, the 127 murders came from a period twice as long as the Swedish number mentioned. Secondly, the majority of the 127 murders where committed in a period before the legalization (60% before, 40% after). And thirdly, since the legalization the number of murdered prostitutes have dropped with about 35%, proving legalization has caused a decrease in the number of murders committed on prostitutes. But most importantly, Sweden can't keep track of the prostitutes, because they've forced it to go underground, meaning they don't know which murdered women are prostitutes.

Bottom line is, since the legalization in Holland, less prostitutes have been murdered, Sweden can't tell because they don't know who are prostitutes and who are not. The number of murders in Sweden may very well be higher, since prostitutes are moving underground where everybody knows it's less safe. Just because the Swedish government doesn't count them, doesn't mean it's not happening. If that doesn't prove that legalization is far better then criminalizing prostitutes or it's clients, I don't know anymore.

Dutch version

Looking for a new appartment
After a couple of years of living in our wonderful apartment we're forced now to look for a new place. Not because we didn't pay the rent, not because our landlord found out about my job and didn't accept it, not because our neighbors had trouble with my job. No, simply because he's coming back from abroad and therefore we can't stay there anymore.

Last time it took us about 6 months before we found an apartment where the landlord accepted my job. It was a long and hard search, and we got refused multiple times because of my job. They didn't always say it directly to us, but sometimes we just got turned down with the excuse that the apartment wasn't available anymore when they heard about my job, but when a couple of days later my boyfriend called them up again from a different number it turned out that was not the case at all.
Another apartment was also supposedly 'already taken', that apartment stayed empty for more then 6 months after our offer. Other agencies sometimes where just honest about it, and told us nobody would accept us with my job.

The last apartment we visited, before we found this apartment, was almost a closed deal already. I was just about to sign the contract, had all the money cash with me to pay everything, when the owner all of the sudden got cold feet about it, and started to worry about things. 'Yes, but what if you take your customers over here, I don't want that!' he replied. It's one of the many arguments I've heard from people about why they're scared to take in sex workers.
But even if you explain to them that the reason why you work behind the window is because you don't want your customers in your own house, they're still not convinced. After a while I had enough of arguing with him and told him I didn't want the apartment anymore. He was shocked, and all of the sudden started to say there was no problem and I could take it, but that I couldn't register my company at this adress. But I already had enough of it. Either you gladly accept your new tenants, or you don't start complaining.

Our current landowner didn't have a problem at all with it. It wasn't an issue for him as long as we kept the apartment nice and payed the rent in time. We don't have much contact with him, since we never have problems with him and he never has problems with us. He knows we always pay our rent in time, he knows we won't make a mess of his apartment, and he knows I won't bring customers to the apartment.
Yet, unfortunately not many other people think like him, as is the case now with our search for a new apartment. Getting apartment refused is not a surprise at all anymore. In fact, it's more of a surprise to us when people do accept it.

Today again was another example of getting refused purely based upon my job. We were interested in an apartment, but like always the agency first wanted to get some info about our income, our employers and our jobs. We feel no need to try and hide it, after all, if we lie about it they can always find out later and then we can get into even bigger problems. But often you don't even have to tell people what job you're doing, just saying you're from Romania and you're a self-employed business owner already tells them enough. Secondly, I'd way rather life in the apartment of someone who just accepts this job, rather then someone who only thinks about the prejudices about this job.
So my boyfriend wrote them an e-mail, stating our income, his employer details and our jobs. He also explained in the e-mail that I don't work from the apartment and keep my job and my private life strictly separate. And that's when we got the email back which stated:

"Dear Mark,

I appreciate your honesty about your girlfriend, but the owner doesn't wish to rent to people from the sex industry. It will therefore be difficult to find an apartment through the agencies, because we all use basically the same criteria that we get from the landlords.

Best regards,"

As you can see, also the agencies make no secret about it that sex workers get discriminated purely based on our job. Yet, I never understood exactly why. After all, prostitutes make enough money to pay for the rent, while other people who wish to rent an apartment in the center of Amsterdam would have to struggle to pay for the rents they ask in the city's center. Prices currently for an average apartment are around 1500 euro's a month or more. Yet, prostitutes who can make this money in one single weekend get refused, while others with less salary get accepted. I don't understand these people. Why do you wish to keep out people who you can be sure of that they can pay the rent, for people who may need to struggle each month to make that amount of money?

The main reason why people are so scared to rent to a prostitute is because they're ignorant about the job. They think we take our customers home. But if I wanted to take my customers home, then why would I still pay 150 euro a night for my working room if I'm not going to use it anyway?
Other people are scared it may attract other 'shady' type of people. But why would I want to attract 'shady' people to a place where I live? Don't they realize that I have to live there and not them? Why would I want shady people hanging around my house?
They automatically think that because you're a prostitute that you just hang out with shady people, criminals and dirty men, like that's something we enjoy in our own spare time. It's a typical example of how legally prostitution has been decriminalized, but not mentally yet. It may be a legal job, but people don't treat it any different because it's legal. We still get treated like lepers, like outcast, like vermin. The only thing that's changed is that now we're legal vermin, which means we have to pay taxes for being this, but unfortunately we haven't gotten any of the rights. Legalizing has got us all the obligations of paying taxes for instance, and having to work and live by the rules the government made up for us, but none of the rights regular people have, like opening a business bank account, getting a loan from a bank, a mortgage or even something as simple as renting an apartment.

But most of the times you don't even get to the point where you can explain these things to them. By default you're already an outcast, and not given any chance. They simply don't want to listen. After all, they can find 100 more people for you, even if they have trouble to pay the rent for it, it's still better then a prostitute. I truly don't understand this.
If things where up to me, I'd gladly accept prostitutes in my apartments. In fact, I'd even prefer it, since they always pay their rent on time, because they don't want any trouble added on the daily problems they already experience being a prostitute. And they'll try and be as quiet about it as they can, because if they don't, the neighbors might cause problems. So actually, prostitutes are very good people to accept in your apartments, since they'll avoid problems with you as much as possible, since you're one of the few people who will accept them, and it may be very difficult to find a new place for them. Plus they have more then enough money to pay for the rent, and they'll keep it quiet, because they don't want any trouble.

Sadly however, most prostitutes get refused. Even though prostitution is a completely legal job, we have all the registrations the government demands from us, we have a bookkeeper that does our administration for us, and we follow all the rules, people still won't accept us simply because of our job.
The search for an apartment is extremely difficult, especially in a city like Amsterdam, where searching for an apartment is already almost suicide. For this reason you'll often see girls living together. The few girls that do manage to get a house, often take in other girls who still haven't found one. And there are simply too few landlords accepting prostitutes, to take in each prostitute. This causes landlords who accept prostitutes to be in a monopoly position, in where they can demand everything from the prostitutes, because they know the girls can't find a place elsewhere easily. Yet, the police and politicians act surprised when they find 10 girls living together, and immediately see it as a sign of human trafficking.
When girls put everything on the name of their boyfriend, because the landlords will accept their boyfriends but not the girls themselves, people again call it human trafficking, because the girl pays for everything while it's in his name. Yes, of course it is in his name if you people will never accept prostitutes as residents!
And then some people act really surprised when some guys take advantage of these kind of situations, and use a girl who has these kind of trouble, to get a nice apartment and money for himself. Yes indeed, discriminating prostitutes like this, and not giving them the rights other people have, makes prostitutes more vulnerable for real human trafficking!

So, my dear readers, landlords, police officers and politicians. If you really want to fight human trafficking, I'd suggest you start by making sure we get the rights we deserve to have. That discrimination against prostitution stops. Only if prostitutes can move freely in this country, and are not subjected to constant discrimination, stigmatization and criminalization, you will make prostitutes less vulnerable to human trafficking. Anything that adds to the stigmatization, criminalization or discrimination of prostitutes is supporting and aiding human traffickers to gain more victims. On top of that, giving prostitutes more rights so they can move more freely does not only cause less women to become victim because they're in a vulnerable position, but also makes it easier to spot the girls that are forced into this job. After all, the more freely a prostitute can move and behave, the bigger the contrast will be with someone who cannot. So please stop the traffic, and give us the rights and not just the obligations.

Dutch version
Don't take pictures
Last week someone posted on YouTube a video with a guy who was doing pranks on prostitutes in the Red Light District. At my request the video fortunately has been taken down, but there are still some other websites that host a copy of it. Although the prank itself was harmless, the guy thought it was funny to ask us to pay him for sex in stead of the other way around, many girls could not appreciate the joke, I was one of the girls in the video. The guy got spit on, thrown water at, and got slammed the door in his face more often then a nerd visiting a cheerleader dorm.

The video even pointed one black man in the video out to be a pimp. It just turns out that I happen to know that man, in fact, he's a friend of mine and a lot of girls who work in Amsterdam's Red Light District know him as well. The man in the video who is supposedly a 'pimp' according to the video, just happens to be a sex worker himself. In fact, many people who visited Amsterdam's Red Light District, and who've been to the Casa Rosso may recognize him as the main attraction, as he and his girlfriend are the main performers at the Casa Rosso. They give multiple sex shows a day at the Casa Rosso and they're the stars of this world famous attraction. You can also see many pictures of him and his girlfriend on the street next to the Casa Rosso, where he poses together with her.
Apparently he was standing outside to smoke a cigarette at the moment the video was being made, and overheard him talking to one of the girls (also a good friend of mine). The video states, after pointing him out as a pimp, that "luckily all he did was tell us to leave"
It's so typical for Americans to automatically assume a black guy standing around is a pimp. In fact, even Dutch people often assume black guys standing around the Red Light District are pimps. Fact is, he is not a pimp, he's a sex worker himself. Many other people standing around are just hanging around, some are selling drugs on the street (which we would rather not see happening), or have nothing to do with the Red Light District at all.
It hurts me to see one of my friends being called a pimp, simply because people assuming a black guy standing around is automatically a pimp. I guess this also says something about the stereotypes people think about, and actually how racist they're thinking when they think stuff like this. He's a black guy, so he must be a pimp.

Many people also wrote comments on the video on YouTube (about 3000 comments), about why we were so rude, that we couldn't take a joke, but also what kind of disgusting bitches we were for disrespecting the guy. I could post here countless comments to show you people the kind of comments they made, but most of them are in my opinion too insulting to read through again. Besides the fact that many people apparently think prostitutes shouldn't earn any respect, what a lot of people don't understand is that these kind of jokes aren't funny.

Why it isn't funny
Besides the fact that a lot of people still see prostitutes as the lowest thing on earth, and many people think we have no self-respect and all this kind of bullshit, it's just a matter of respect. We get on a daily base dozens of people making jokes about us. People laugh at us when they see us in the windows, people look disgusted at us when they see us in the windows, people think it's funny to make jokes about how we look.
Day in, day out we get people making jokes about us, making jokes at our expense. We already have enough trouble being accepted by society as regular human beings with rights, many people call to us the worst things imaginable, see us nothing more then a bunch of holes to fuck for money. Adding on top of that the daily ridiculing and 'jokes' that people make about us, can make us feel very bad, and like people may have noticed, makes us also very angry.
Making jokes at our expense is not funny, and is lacking any respect for us as human beings. We are just people doing their job. I don't come to your job to make fun of you every day, so don't come to my job to make fun of me.
We have a good sense of humor, as many clients can confirm, but making a joke at the expense of people who already have a tough time being accepted isn't very funny. I get people come to my window who make jokes and I can laugh at them, because they're funny. But as soon as you make a joke at the expense of someone else, that's not funny anymore. After all, you're not going to make joke out of handicapped people for being handicapped, so why make fun of a prostitute for being a prostitute?

Why it's disrespectful
Apparently a lot of people have a lot of trouble to understand why making a joke about us, or with us, is disrespectful. But like I explained above, we already get treated like shit on a daily base by people who don't accept our job, making fun at our expense isn't funny, but just ads to the humiliation a lot of people apparently think we deserve.
But above all, it's disrespectful to photograph or film us, and I'll also explain why. Many people take pictures or sometimes even film us, like this man did. Besides the fact that he's ignoring the signs that is in almost every window, that tells people not to photograph or film us, and he's disrespecting our request, he's also not considering the consequences of his actions.
We also have families and friends. Most of our families and friends don't know we do this job. Sharing videos and photo's online of us is exposing not only to everyone else in the world, but more importantly, also could expose us to our family and friends. Besides the fact that this could lead to problems with families and friends not accepting our jobs, and therefore being outcast by our families and friends, this could also lead to family and friends being daily confronted by other people who recognize us on the video, and having to deal with discrimination and being outcast themselves from their communities for something they didn't have any choice in.
We have no problems with our job, but we don't want to burden the people that are close to us with our choices. Families and friends cannot become the victim of our choice of profession, even though it's a legal job over here. We wish not to get our families and friends hurt simply because of our choice of job, and because some people have problems with it. Therefor we don't want to be photographed or filmed. Not because we are shy or because we have a problem exposing ourselves, after all, we're standing there for everyone to see, but we don't want our families and friends to get hurt because of this.

Why it's dangerous
Even though prostitution is a completely legal job in Holland, and we pay taxes and everything, unfortunately this job is not legal in every country. In a lot of countries prostitution is illegal, and even prosecutable. Posting videos and photos online that could expose us, could lead to big problems in our home countries.
This could result in some cases being arrested when we go home (in Russia prostitutes even get tortured in the most inhuman ways possible), but this could also lead to other physical harm. Not everyone accepts prostitution as a job, and there have been examples of girls who have been in physical harm (been beaten up or worse), because people found out she was a prostitute because of videos like these.
Posting a video or a picture online in which prostitutes are recognizable (either by showing their face, but also through their voice and/or marks like tattoos or anything else that could make us identifiable), endangers these prostitutes. Women have been beaten, even have been killed because other people found out they where working as prostitutes elsewhere.
If you don't do it to respect us, or our families, at least don't film or photograph us because we don't like to be in physical harm. We are still only humans, we're not objects, we're people doing our job. If you want to make a joke at our expense, that's disrespectful, but posting it online is not only disrespectful, but also endangering our lives.

It's not everyone's choice
Besides the fact that it could endanger girls if you post these kind of things online, they could cause family problems and just makes us feel bad, there's another reason you shouldn't film or photograph us. Many of us choose to do this job, but unfortunately not everyone. There are some girls (even thought there are few of them, but nonetheless) who don't do this job by choice, but who are forced to do this job.
It was not their choice to stand behind a window, but they are being enforced to do so by other people who exploit these girls for money. If you don't care about putting the lives of prostitutes in danger who choose to do this job, fine, even though I think you're a complete asshole for doing so, this was my own choice as well as many others. But some women (aprox. 8% or less) didn't choose to do this job, they're forced and often physically threatened to do this job, and by exposing these girls who didn't have a choice, you're not just adding more humiliation to their life, but you're also endangering them more.
You're not just showing a lack of respect for those who choose to do this job, but you're actually also exploiting girls who didn't choose to do this job but are forced to. Think about that before taking a picture or video of us. And the same thing goes for making fun of us. We can take it, but the small group of girls who are forced, are already vulnerable and you're just adding more humiliation to their life which is completely unacceptable.

As you can see, there's a reason why we don't appreciate these kind of jokes, and there's a reason why we put signs on our doors that says we don't want people to take pictures of us. It's not because we're ashamed of what we do, but rather because other people have trouble accepting our job, and because some girls didn't have a choice in this job.
Some people have stated that even though we put pictures up in our windows that tell people not to take pictures, that it's not illegal to take a picture of a street in Amterdam. This is true, it's not illegal to photograph or film in the streets of Amsterdam, including the Red Light District. However, we don't stand outside on the streets, we're standing indoors in our own rooms. Taking a picture of us inside our rooms IS violating our privacy rights, since we're not part of the street but standing in our own rooms.
On top of that, there's also something called a portret right in Holland, which protects the rights of the people who are in the photograph or video. This portret right surpasses the copyright, which is the rights of the person who took the picture and is therefor the owner of the picture.
If you want to take a picture or video of someone in Holland, you have to ask them for permission, otherwise you're prosecutable, unless you make the person unrecognizable in the footage. And making someone unrecognizable doesn't just stop at blurring out someone's face, this also means removing anything from the footage that could identify the person to other people, like for example the person's voice or trademarks such as tattoos.

I've also seen other video's or films that are about human trafficking for example, that use footage of Amsterdam's Red Light District. The documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is especially a good example of that. It's not just a documentary that hoaxes a lot of stories about trafficking (it's funded by Christian organisations), but above all exploits the girls they claim are all victims even more by showing their faces recognizable in the documentary. To me this already proves these people are not one bit interested in the so called victims. After all, if they really think we are all (or at least most of us are) victims, wouldn't filming and exposing them to the public be even worse? And even worse then that, they're making money with their documentary exposing these 'victims' to the public, which makes them just as bad as the people they claim to be fighting with this documentary. Talking about being nefarious!
People who really care about saving victims of human trafficking would not exploit us this way. Especially not if they think most of us are forced. So Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is just another bullshit movie with a lot of false statements and blown up stories about human trafficking to gain more support to criminalize prostitution and it's clients, because these people morally condemn it because they are Christians, and nothing else. If you care even just a little bit about prostitutes, victims of human trafficking, or women in general, you wouldn't be watching or making documentaries like these.

It's okay to take a picture or video of the Red Light District in Amsterdam, to show the people home where you've been. We understand that, and that's not a problem at all, as long as you don't photograph or film us recognizably in the footage. Any footage that does make us recognizable is not just disrespectful to us, our families and friends, but also to the victims of human trafficking which unfortunately are also present in the Red Light District even though it's only a small portion. It violates our privacy rights, our portret rights, plus it can put us in danger. So please don't take pictures or video of us.
If we wanted to have a picture or video of ourselves like this, we would've become pornstars. But we're not pornstars, so please respect our privacy.

Dutch version

Amsterdam and tourisms
Yesterday the director of the Rijksmuseum, Wim Pijbes, wrote in an open letter in the newspaper NRC about how 'dirty, sleazy and too full' Amsterdam was getting. According to Wim Pijbes the city can't handle the giant stream of tourists that Amsterdam is getting since the reopening of the Rijksmuseum. An interesting thing, especially since if he's complaining that Amsterdam is getting 'too full', that's the fault of his own Rijksmuseum and the giant stream of new tourists that it's attracted. In other words, he's complaining about a problem of which he is the main cause himself.
On top of that, the rebuilding of the Rijksmuseum took more then a decade and cost 375 million Euro's, and after spending all that money, over such a long period of time, now he's complaining about too many tourists coming to it?
It's absolutely bullshit by the way, because if I look at how many tourists there where a couple of years ago, versus how many there are now, there are way less tourists coming to Amsterdam now then before. If I look sometimes at Dam square on a regular Friday it's almost empty, when before you could almost walk on people.

There are things Wim Pijbes mentions I do agree with, like the rubbish and garbage bags on the streets, bikes everywhere (especially the Dam seems to have been turned into a parking lot for bikes some times).
But what I think is absolutely disgusting about his whole open letter, is that he literally writes:

"En, wellicht een illusie: sluit de ogen niet voor de beschamende wantoestanden in de prostitutie, inclusief vrouwenhandel van minderjarige Roemeense en Hongaarse meisjes en andere slachtoffers [...] Hoe vrolijk de Wallen er ’s avonds ook uitzien, achter de roze schijn gaat een grimmige wereld schuil. ‘Bad money drives out good money’, geldt ook hier."

"And, perhaps an illusion: don't close your eyes for the shameful situation in the prostitution, including the women trafficking of underage Romanian and Hungarian girls and other victims [...] How nice the Red Light District may seem at night, behind the pink appearance there's a shade world. 'Bad money drives out good money', is also the case here."

I wonder when the last time was when Wim Pijbes talked to a minor in the Red Light District? Becuase this is complete bullshit! There are no minors in the Red Light District! This man talks about things he knows nothing about, but does think he has to right to say things about us!
And just for your information Wim, the Red Light District is RED and not PINK! I think you're confusing the minors present at the Gay Pride with the girls behind the windows in red light here. I know, I know, both are completely disgusting things probably in your opinion, this whole idea of open sexuality, exposing things in such openness and the idea that sex is open and available throughout Amsterdam, but we don't live in the 1950's anymore.

And what does Wim Pijbes mean with 'good money drives out bad money'? Is he suggesting the money of the tourists visiting Amsterdam's Red Light District is less worth then those who visit his precious Rijksmuseum?
Pijbes is happy to report that after years Amsterdam is finally back in the top 25 cities in the world, thanks to his Rijksmuseum. But let's not forget who got Amsterdam in the top 25 in the first place, that wasn't his Rijksmuseum (however bad he might have wanted it to be), but Amsterdam's most famous Red Light District with it's open culture and tolerance towards drugs (coffeeshops), gay people and prostitution.
Which also begs the question why Amsterdam has been absent for so many years from the top 25 list. Could it perhaps be that the measures of the city government of Amsterdam to close down a large part of Amsterdam's most famous district has caused tourists to stay away from Amsterdam? After all, closing down a part of your largest touristic attraction does tend to force tourists to look at other places.

It seems to me, like Wim Pijbes is warning that Amsterdam can't cope with the giant stream of tourists anymore, and things need to change. I agree with that, garbage is not a nice sight, there are way too many bikes at some places that require a parking place and I would also like to see a more cleaned up Amsterdam. But apparently Pijbes seems to be scared that if he does achieve this with his letter, the tourists aren't going to come to his precious Rijksmuseum, but to other touristic attractions that he tries to put down as negative in his article. The canal cruise boats for instance are the most polluting to him, illegal short-stay hotels are 'dangerous for life' according to him, the Red Light District is a giant criminal place full of underage forced prostitutes and 'shady' coffeeshops that cause the youth 'to flip out psychotic'.
Basically it comes down to this: more tourists are welcome, as long as they come to 'his' Rijksmuseum, and don't go to any of the other big touristic attractions like the canal cruise boats to see Amsterdam's famous canals and Amsterdam's biggest touristic attraction itself, the Amsterdam Red Light District with it's brothels and coffeeshops. Pijbes prefers by the way the tourists that are 'rich' enough to pay for over-expensive hotels, rather than short-stay stay hotels, that offer accommodation for a lower price. Not such a surprise, he knows that his tourists, the tourists that want to visit museums, don't want to stay in a short-stay hotel, but rather choose luxury over price, and go to over-expensive hotels.

Wim Pijbes is a scared man. He's afraid that Amsterdam can't cope with the giant stream of tourists that the reopening of the Rijksmuseum has caused, and fears that if the city doesn't change, the tourists won't come back to his Rijksmuseum, but we'll get back the tourists that come for Amsterdam's Red Light District and canal cruises, not exactly the type of people that would visit his museum in his idea. But in my experience the tourists that visit the Red Light District and it's borthels and coffeeshops also go to 'his' Rijksmuseum, so apparently Pijbes is not informed about who his own visitors are.
He wants more tourists, but he definitely doesn't want them to come to any other famous attractions in Amsterdam but 'his' Rijksmuseum, and is willing to make completely false claims about that, like for instance minors working in prostitution, in order to scare people away from there, and attract only 'the rich'.
Apparently Pijbes is scared as fuck that his tourists might discover there's more to Amsterdam then just 'his' Rijksmuseum, and does everything to keep them away from there, and to keep his customers coming back.

Perhaps it would be wise if Pijbes would look at the paintings in his own museum, and looks at the history of this city, and that what made it big. Like it or not, but what made Amsterdam big are it's unique canals, and especially one part that's called the Red Light District. There many tourists are going to celebrate Amsterdam's openness and tolerance towards soft drugs, the LGBT community and prostitution. These tourists would rather spend less money on a hotel they'll barely use anyway, and would rather spend it on smoking weed, going out in the many clubs and bars and visiting the girls at the Red Light. Those are the tourists that also spend a lot of money when they come here, and give a huge impulse to Amsterdam's economy, not the people who buy a ticket at the Rijksmuseum for 15 Euro's and go home the next day.

Wim Pijbes is only marketing his own Rijksmuseum at the costs of all the other touristic attractions. To me this just proves how uncertain Pijbes is about the future of his success. Apparently he's so scared that his success will diminish, and people will re-discover the Red Light District and it's canals as an attraction, that he'll lie, deceive and manipulate the public opinion in order to keep his success going.

It's strange how well this story fits within an article I wrote a while ago, about how Amsterdam was never really interested in fighting human trafficking and crime, but rather in attracting a different type of tourist, like I wrote here. Wim Pijbes his open letter just proves how right I was about that, in almost every single detail.
Amsterdam is giving off negative information about it's Red Light District, the prostitutes and coffeeshops, not because there's really crime going on there that much, but because they don't like those tourists. They want 'rich' tourists who visit museums, and not the Red Light District.
Wim Pijbes almost seems to have been instructed by the PVDA in Amsterdam, to play along with their plan, which works in his advantage and that of the PVDA. It also showcases how desperate the PVDA has become in order to make their plan work. The PVDA has realized it's loosing it's credibility with their story after several media have reported about it's real intentions, and are now using their puppets, like district attorney Jolanda de Boer and now director of the Rijksmuseum Wim Pijbes, to give some more credibility to their story. They believe that if other people, people with stature, will back-up their story, it will give their plan more credibility, and they can continue with their plan to reduce the Red Light District, and make the Rijksmuseum the main attraction. The question is of course, do those people want the blood of the victims on their hands?
After all, the closing down of the Red Light District will only resolve in loosing track of victims, and possibly even create more victims because they become prey to pimps. Do they want to have that blood on their hands?

But what I really don't understand is, how someone can claim things about things he knows nothing about! Wim Pijbes doesn't even live in Amsterdam, he lives in Rotterdam. His statements about coffeeshops, and how they would have a bad influence on the psyche of the youth is complete nonsense, since you have to be 18 to even go inside a coffeeshop. And the exact same thing is true about prostitution, there are NO underage girls at the Red Light District, for the very simply reason that you have to be 21 to work here. Above all, you need to be registered at the Chambers of Commerce, otherwise you can't even get a room, and to register there you also need to be 18. So there's simply no way, and also every human trafficking case proves this, since there hasn't been a single case of an underage girl working in Amsterdam's Red Light District since the minimum age has been raised to 21.
If I look where I work, and look at the girls that work in my street, they're all girls that are almost in their 30's. That's not even close to a minor! In fact, many of the women working in Amsterdam's Red Light District are closer to 30 then they are to 18. We may look young to some people, but that's just in our genes. We can't help it that we look younger then many Dutch people do, in our eyes Dutch women when they're 16 look like they're 30 already (including the way they dress)! In fact, older Dutch women look better then their own daughters, they take better care of how they look and dress.
But just because we look young, doesn't mean that we are. Most women are closer to 30 who are doing this job. I'm close to 28 now, and still get questions from people who ask me if I'm old enough to be doing this job.

Pijbes is making claims about things he knows nothing about. I could also make claims about his Rijksmuseum like this, like the fact that the paintings hanging there are fake ones and not the real ones. After all, did you really think they would endanger the original paintings by hanging them in front of some lunatics who want to damage such a painting? Of course not!
The damaging of the Nightwatch back in 1975 proves the kind of lunatics that visit museums (source here). And of course this is not the only time a painting has been damaged, there have been many cases in which some idiot tries to damage a famous painting. In fact, it happens so often I think there are more criminals hanging around in his museum who want to damage 'his' paintings, then there are criminals in the entire Red Light District!
No, the Rijksmusem doesn't show the original paintings, these are all fake. I've never been there to make such claims, but that doesn't matter, since Pijbes also makes claims about my workplace which he knows nothing about. His paintings are fake, he keeps the real ones hanging in the basement of the Rijksmuseum, but still tells people these are the real ones, otherwise nobody would buy a ticket to watch a fake painting.
Pijbes is a scam artists, blaming others to be scammers, while in fact being the biggest scammer himself.
I'll never go to the Rijksmuseum anymore, and I'll tell each and every one of my clients to never go to watch those fake paintings. After all, why pay 15 Euro's for a watching a bunch of fake paintings in a poorly lit museum? Spend a little more, and you'll get something that will satisfy you way more then watching a poorly lit fake painting, you'll get to spend 15 minutes with the woman of your dreams.

Dutch version