Amsterdam Red Light District

The Amsterdam Red Light District, known as De Wallen, is the world's most famous red light district, with a history that spans centuries. In the Red Light District, prostitutes offer themselves to tourists behind windows with bright red lights illuminating around the windows. Also in this Red Light District, there are world-famous cannabis "coffee shops" where patrons can purchase and smoke marijuana that is locally grown. The marijuana sold in these "coffee shops" is among the most potent in the world. These "coffee shops" also offer hash, and some offer potent "space cakes," which are cookies or brownies with hash. A common misconception about the city is that cannabis is legal, when in fact it is decriminalized. Those in possession of more than five grams are subject to penalties and even jail time. The Red Light District is also lined with restaurants, shops, and other attractions.

Although the window prostitutes and "coffee shops" attract many tourists from around the world, particularly for sightseeing, and have gained global notoriety among travelers, Amsterdam is also famous for its rich history, culture, and architecture. The city has two very famous art museums: the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Also in the city is the Anne Frank House, serving as a memorial to the devastation of World War II, where Anne Frank, then a teenage girl, hid with her Jewish family from the Nazis to avoid being sent to concentration camps and where she recorded her experiences in a diary. The city is also famous for its canals. Vondelpark, a very large public park, is also popular among locals and tourists for taking a relaxing stroll.

Though the city has tried to limit the growth of the red light windows and "coffee shops" due to concerns about organized crime, they still remain as distinguishing features of the city.

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