Eindhoven is a city in the southern province of North Brabant. It covers an area of 34.31 square miles and is home to 223,220 people as of January 2015. Eindhoven is known to the locals as "Lichtstad" or the City of Light because of its association with electronics giant Philips.
Modern as it is today, Eindhoven is actually one of the Netherlands’ oldest towns. It was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times in its written history. It also repeatedly alternated governance between the Dutch and the Spaniards, even France for a brief span. Over time, it emerged as a major player in the global industrial and technical design scene.
The adult entertainment district in Eindhoven is Baekeland Square. It is located in Woensel, which is roughly two kilometers from the city centre. It is where 24 houses were converted to 14 business premises in 2005. This put an end to over four decades of street prostitution in the area. There are up to 48 working girls from various nationalities, though a majority are from the Netherlands and other neighboring European nations.
History of the RLD
Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since 2000 and the establishment of Baekeland Square as a designated street prostitution area was meant to put an end to the problem caused by street prostitutes in Woensel West. Prior to 2005, men were openly asking neighborhood girls how much they charged, cars were free to cruise around the area at night, and people were hurling used condoms into front gardens. The solution worked like a charm and authorities gave 30 prostitutes with addiction problems a pass that permitted them to work and receive better healthcare.
The city government also started awarding credit points to street prostitutes who exhibit good behavior and participate in activities like workshops where they can learn a variety of skills so they can seek out other employment opportunities. Those with enough points get street miles that they can use to purchase clothes and furniture from designer outlets like the International School of Design in Cologne and the Eindhoven Design Academy. Subsequently, Eindhoven and other Dutch cities began shutting down red light districts. Baekeland Square was closed in 2011.
How to Find the RLD
Baekeland Square is easily accessible through the ring in Eindhoven, simply exit Edison Street and turn right. The area itself is closed to all traffic but there is ample parking at the entrance. There is also a covered and secured parking lot about 50 meters to the right of the entrance.
Stay Safe in the RLD
Eindhoven has a relatively low crime rate so you are not likely to encounter any troubles while touring the city. However, just like any other place that you’re unfamiliar with, it is highly advisable to be extra cautious and to be on alert in public areas, especially during high season. You can easily lose your cash and other valuables to pickpockets and other con artists, turning your dream vacation into a nightmare. In the case of trouble, call 112. This is the general emergency number for the police, ambulance and fire brigade.
There are two casinos at the heart of the city. One is a branch of Holland Casino while the other is known as Casino4Events. There are also four brothels and a red-light district in Baekeland Square. Window prostitution is known to thrive on Edison Street in Woensel West, but it is not considered a red light zone because the area is too small. Sex shows, sex shops, drug and sex museums are also popular among tourists.
Some sex shops in Eindhoven have sex arcades, where mostly gay and bi-curious men watch porn. There is also a blue movie theater in the city.
Street prostitution was prevalent and was such a nuisance in the residential neighborhoods. This prompted the local government in 2003 to put up a prostitution area located near an industrial estate. Five years later, in late 2008, authorities formulated the College of Mayor and Aldermen of Eindhoven as a new means to end street prostitution in the city.
The Edison Street in Stadsdeel Woensel West used to feature window prostitution. As aforementioned, 14 business premises, including 24 windows and 48 rooms, were rebuilt in 2005. All the premises complied with the standards enforced by the city police, fire and health departments. The buildings had permanent security presence and even free WiFi. This brought an end to over four decades of various forms of street prostitution in Eindhoven.
Prostitution in Eindhoven is legal but regulated. It is also legal to operate a brothel and to hook up with a woman in a bar or club. What the law considers a crime is the act of pimping and exploiting women for sexual purposes. All types of human trafficking are prohibited across the Netherlands through Article 273 of its criminal code, which imposes sentences ranging from 8-18 years’ imprisonment. Such penalties are strict enough and equivalent to those imposed on other heinous crimes like rape.
Police can raid illegal prostitution in hotels and both the client and the prostitute can be penalized or imprisoned. In addition, hotel staff is obliged by law to inform the police department if they suspect such illegal activities in their premises.
Having sex with a minor (18 years for prostitutes and 16 for other people) is also considered illegal. Note, however, that the House of Representatives of the Netherlands introduced a legislative proposal back in 2009 and it was amended the following year. It effectively banned prostitution by people under the age of 21.
As for the LGBT community, same-sex sexual activity has been legalized since 1811, with the equal age of consent in effect since 1971. Authorities also enacted anti-discrimination laws in the workplace in 1983 and the provisions have been implemented ever since. Anti-discrimination laws are likewise in effect in other areas such as the provision of goods and services. In 2001, the Netherlands made the headlines when it became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, along with other significant considerations including the following:
Eindhoven is a metropolis with a bustling nightlife. It is called the City of Lights and the nightlife venues contribute to this moniker. There are about five areas where you can experience Dutch party ambiance at its finest. The most popular is the Stratumseind, but don’t let it hold you back from exploring the other party places like the one around the Market. You can also find various venues around the Dommelstraat and the Station Square. In addition, the Wilhelminaplein offers an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants, allowing you to kick off early and then keep going till late in the evening. The bars are open till 2:00 am but most nightlife venues in the city centre are permitted to stay open till the wee hours in the morning.
The gay and lesbian scene in Eindhoven is relatively small and some even consider it bland and boring, particularly among those who got used to the thriving LGBT scene in Amsterdam. Nonetheless, the city still boasts all the local highlights bundled together and similar to those found in other major Dutch cities. Don’t be discouraged to pay a visit because of the lack of gay bars and clubs. Gays and lesbians alike are very much welcome in every place in the city!
General Attitude Towards Gays
The Netherlands is one of the top countries in the world with the most positive attitude towards homosexuality. The attitude towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders has been increasingly positive since the 60’s. However, public intimacy remains a sensitive topic for some. According to a report, roughly 90 percent of the Dutch population stated that gays and lesbians must be allowed to live their lives as they want to. About 78 percent are in favor of gay marriage, while 65 percent support adoption by same-sex couples. Only seven percent of the population expressed some issues with a gay or lesbian teaching their kids in school.
In spite of the positive outlook, the locals are less positive in terms of intimacy between same-sex couples, particularly in the case of two men. About 27 percent believe that sexual intercourse between two men is unacceptable; 28 percent disapprove of same-sex couples holding hands in public, and 35 percent disapprove of two men making out in public. However, the part of the population with a negative perception has been on the decline in recent years - from 15 percent in 2006 to only eight percent in 2012.
The gay community tends to congregate in bars like the PallaZ, which has been in operation for over 12 years. It is arguably the best gay bar in Eindhoven as it caters to a wide audience and has its own theme every single day! Although it focuses on the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual audience, everyone is welcome to drop by and have some fun.
Other notable gay bars/clubs include Tolerant in Stratumsedijk 103A, COC Eindhoven (Pand 54 Café) in Prins Hendrikstraat 54, and The Queens Pub in St. Lambertusstraat 42.
Gay Prostitution in Eindhoven
Gay prostitution does exist but the majority of the gay prostitutes only advertise their services online.
It has been estimated that five percent of the prostitutes in the Netherlands are transsexuals and transgender. There are trannies and cross-dressing escorts working in Eindhoven and they frequently take their clients to private flats.