A violent storm ravaged through Amsterdam this past spring. Every one of the 150 year-old trees surrounding the Oudekerksplein in the Red Light District, were suddenly as defenceless as wooden matches in nervous hands. It seemed mother nature was furious and wanted to make a point.
In hindsight that moment foreshadowed the storm currently blowing its way through the neighbourhood. From the City Hall she is blasting across Amsterdam under the name ‘the future of De Wallen (Red Light District).’ The media is feasting and city hall is quaking with excitement. The current struggle seems like it will be the icing on the Project 1012 cake. With the strength of a hurricane, the city is determined to bring the neighbourhood – the last free-thinking area of Amsterdam – into the fold of the gentrified city. Leaving only Decent Citizens after quietly sweeping the dishonourable and rejects, out of the sight of the good people. Prostitution has always existed in this area, as has the church, the homeless, the middle class and the elite; who as easily glorify their neighbourhood as endlessly complained about it. Time passes. Trees grow and fall down. Society develops and peoples’ morals shift as often as the wind. Visions evolve and the neighbourhood evolves with it, if not for the good then for the bad. Sometimes with the help of mother nature but more often because of the city apparatus.
There is actually only one possible answer to the frequently asked question ‘is the Red Light District still of this time?’ And that is: ‘The Red Light District is time! The changes show you exactly how late it is.‘