A red-light district is a part of an urban area where there is a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters, etc. The term originates from the red lights that were used as signs of brothels. There are areas in many big cities around the world which have acquired an international reputation as red-light districts. Some red-light districts have acquired a touristic interest beyond sex tourism, and can be perceived as places of artistic, historic or cultural interest, whether or not they still serve the sex trade.
De Wallen (Dutch pronunciation: [də ˈʋɑlə(n)]) or De Walletjes (Dutch pronunciation: [də ˈʋɑləcəs]) is the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam and a major tourist attraction. It is located in the heart of the oldest part of the city (Amsterdam-Centrum), covering several blocks south of the church Oude Kerk and crossed by several canals. De Wallen consists of a network of alleys containing approximately three hundred tiny one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights. The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana. 26 coffeeshops in the De Wallen area will have to close their doors between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2015. As part of new restrictions which came into force in 2012, a Dutch judge ruled tourists can now legally be banned from entering cannabis cafes.