Luxury brothels in Amsterdam have been a way of life since the last half of the 20th century.
While brothels of course existed in Amsterdam before this, the sexual revolution had a huge impact in the Netherlands.
As minds opened (or closed, according to others) and morals loosened, pornography and prostitution, including sex clubs, gained popularity and, in some cases, notoriety.
Since the Middle Ages, prostitution has existed openly in Amsterdam with prostitutes seen as a necessary evil to protect the good, chaste ladies of society from harassment by 'unmarried men'.
Tolerance of the profession has tended to go up and down with the prevailing morals of the time. From 17th-century Calvinists to the armies of Napoleon, many groups found prostitution in Amsterdam to be acceptable, while just as many despised it.
At the start of the 20th century, the attitudes to prostitution in Amsterdam (especially towards the brothel owners who exploited the prostitutes) were very strict and stopped just short of outlawing the practice.
This all changed in the wake of the 1970s' sexual revolution. The prostitutes union, the Rode Draad (Red Thread) was founded in 1985 and in 2000 the ban on brothels (i.e. commercial organization of prostitution) was ended.
With the girls freely able to work and pay taxes, this created a relatively secure working environment for luxury brothels in Amsterdam.
These days, prostitution in Amsterdam is accepted and, in fact, quite important to the city's tourist trade. The brothels can still be a headache for the authorities, however.
One aspect is the brothel's claim that their girls are independent entrepreneurs rather than employees, in order to foil the tax man. Another is the suspicion that some brothels are used for money laundering by organized crime.
More troubling is the fact that, while most Amsterdam prostitutes seem to work out of their free will, some women (and even underage girls) apparently have been forced or manipulated into the sex trade, among others by "lover boys".
For those who don't feel like tramping about the windows of the Red Light District, the many luxury brothels in Amsterdam offer a way to enjoy the company of Amsterdam's famous ladies of the night in far more comfort and security.
They are private clubs in regular neighorhoods, often not recognizable as brothels from the outside. Prices tend to be higher but the overall experience is a more upmarket way to meet a temporary new best friend.
Due to the policy of girls remaining independent entrepreneurs while working in the clubs, extra charges from the girls themselves as well as for over priced drinks, room rental and entry to the building can all mount up. Men who feel the urge to visit, better know what they're getting themselves into beforehand.
While Amsterdam's most famous sex club, Yab Yum, was shut down in 2008 because the owners allegedly had ties to organized crime, there are still plenty of luxury brothels in Amsterdam.
Asmara, located on Willem de Zwijgerlaan 70, close to the Erasmus Park, bills itself as a high class massage salon. More than massage is on offer however, and the club's gleaming marble interior and mirrored walls make it feel more like a posh hotel than a brothel.
Asmara is notable for having no entrance fee or drink charges and no extra charges from the girls themselves.
One of the more easterly luxury brothels in Amsterdam, Club LV can be found at Middenweg 144, on the way to Diemen. Club LV is linked to the Valentine escort company and bills itself as "hip, hot and happening" with themed rooms and parties.
There are some other sex clubs, massage parlours and luxury brothels in Amsterdam that deserve a mention. Love Club 21 at Koestraat 21, a massage parlour annex brothel, has a staff made up entirely of Thai girls.
The Golden Key at Overtoom 294 and the aptly named, and ultra-luxurious, Club Elegance at Nicolaas Witsenkade 38 are both also well-known luxury brothels in Amsterdam.
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