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EU agency ‘concerned’ about planned ‘erotic centre’ near its Amsterdam headquarters

by editor

The European Medicines Agency has said it is keeping a close watch on plans for a new sex work venue as Amsterdam disperses its notorious red light district.


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Thursday that it was “extremely concerned” by the Amsterdam city council’s decision to set up a large brothel near its headquarters in the Dutch capital.

Amsterdam’s authorities are moving some of the legal prostitution business out of the city centre’s notorious Red Light District in an effort to break up both organised crime and overtourism in the area. On Monday, it was announced that the Europaboulevard in the south of the capital had been chosen as the site for a new “erotic centre”.

The decision is due to be formally submitted to the city council in early 2024.

In response, the EMA said it is “extremely concerned about the impact of this decision on its environment, as the proposed location for the erotic centre is in the immediate vicinity of the premises” – some 800 metres from the future brothel.

“The Agency will continue to follow the decision-making process very closely”, added the European regulator, which moved its headquarters to the Dutch capital after Brexit.

The Red Light district relocation plan has met with outcry from sex workers in the legal industry, who want to remain behind their scarlet neon windows near the canals of the historic centre rather than being dispatched to Amsterdam’s hinterland.

Residents living near three pre-selected sites in February, in the north and south of the city, have joined the sex workers’ protest in recent months, up in arms at the prospect of a “huge brothel” being built a stone’s throw from their homes.

When the plan was first floated, the EMA expressed its firm opposition to the fact that two of the proposed sites were close to its headquarters.

“The concerns we expressed earlier this year remain and we will continue to share them with decision-makers,” the EMA said in a statement.

Amsterdam wants to create around a hundred places for sex workers outside the city centre, while shuttering the same number of workplaces in the Red Light District.

Even if the project is approved, the full development of the plans will still require a number of formal decisions. The municipality is planning to build the erotica centre over a period of seven years.

Petitions opposing the project have gathered tens of thousands of signatures.

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