Amsterdam Sex Workers Return After COVID-19 ‘Catastrophe’

People ride bicycles on May 12, 2021 in Amsterdam near the Rijksmuseum displaying a poster of the exhibition “Slavery”. – Amsterdam’s famous Rijksmuseum presents a new exhibition dealing with slavery during Dutch colonial times, with the museum hoping to start a new conversation about a painful period in the lowlands country’s history. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)



Dutch sex workers returned to Amsterdam’s red-light district on Wednesday after six “boring” months off, as the government began to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Sex workers could be seen in their canalside window booths for the first time since early December, during which time many say they had no government support.

The rooms where they meet clients now have official Covid-19 guidelines attached to the walls warning people to wash their hands, and wear a mask if they wish.

“I’m extremely happy that we are open again after such a long time without having work,” said a sex worker who identified herself as Kelly.

“For many girls, it’s a catastrophe, surely because most of them got no support from the government and had to work illegally.”

Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands but the government banned it along with other “contact professions” in December during the second wave of coronavirus.

As a result, many sex workers were forced to work illegally, often in unsafe conditions, sex worker unions said.

But like many other people across Europe returning to their workplaces as vaccines temper the outbreak, Kelly said it was also simply good to be back at work.

“It’s so nice to see my colleagues again and have some regularity in my life. Sitting at home is really boring,” she said.

“It’s just a pity that there are not many tourists yet, because that’s what keeps Amsterdam ticking.”

– ‘Careful with our hygiene’ –
Another sex worker, Jeanne, said it was unfair they had been excluded when other professions such as hairdressers had been allowed to reopen months ago.

“We can also get sick and we can contaminate our clients so we are without fail very careful with our hygiene,” she said.

“Everything related to hand-washing and such measures we were doing it before,” she said.

With its neon-lit booths and sex shows, the red light district has long been one of Amsterdam’s main tourism draws, even if some locals resent the overcrowding and behaviour of young groups of mainly male visitors.

“Now the girls are open again, the bars are open again, it’s a step forward actually, I’m really happy,” said bar manager Davey Mell, 27.

“This has been a hard time for everybody here in Amsterdam, especially in this district.”

Barber Kieran Deacon, 23, said the return of the sex workers had been “very good for the atmosphere of the area.

“I hope that the tourists start to get back, a lot of our business model here relies on tourism,” he added.

However, he also backed calls for local authorities to clean up the area and make it less frantic.

Amsterdam officials have even talked of moving the sex workers to a centre on the outskirts of town to reduce the impact on the historic area, even if many people who work there want less drastic measures.

Protests In Amsterdam, Dublin Over Killing Of George Floyd

Protesters demonstrate on June 1, 2020 in Amsterdam, to protest against the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in the USA. Sem VAN DER WAL / AFP / ANP
Protesters demonstrate on June 1, 2020 in Amsterdam, to protest against the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in the USA. Sem VAN DER WAL / AFP / ANP


Thousands of protesters rallied in the Dutch and Irish capitals on Monday against the death of a black man during an arrest by police in the United States.

Defying coronavirus restrictions, demonstrators in both Amsterdam and Dublin carried signs saying “Black Lives Matter”, referring to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The protests that have roiled US cities for six nights have now spread around the world, with rallies as far afield as London and New Zealand.

Around 3,000 protesters packed Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam, standing close together despite coronavirus social distancing measures, local media said.

The protest was partly organised by a group that aims to stop the Dutch Christmas tradition of “Black Pete” — one of Santa’s helpers who is dressed in blackface.

In Dublin, protestors marched on the US embassy on Monday afternoon, chanting Floyd’s name and taking a knee at the gates of the compound in a moment of silence.

Police on the scene told AFP they estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 took part in the peaceful demonstration, surprising officers who had expected a modest turnout.

Racially diverse protestors carried placards reading “Black lives matter” and “Police murder”. One wore a face mask marked with the words “I can’t breathe”.

“Who do you turn to when you can’t turn to the people that are meant to protect you?” said protestor Fionnuala O’Connell, reacting to the circumstances of Floyd’s death in police custody.

“That’s the scariest part, because what do you do?”

“I feel like a lot of us have been silenced and we were afraid to speak out,” demonstrator Raphael Olympio told AFP.

“Today we just want to speak out and raise our voices.”

Update: Accidental Hijack Alarm Triggers Amsterdam Airport Chaos


A pilot accidentally set off a hijack alarm on a plane at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Wednesday, triggering a huge security operation by Dutch police.

Spanish airline Air Europa “deeply” apologised for the incident onboard its flight from the Dutch capital to Madrid, which saw emergency vehicles swarm around the plane.

“False alarm. In the flight Amsterdam-Madrid this afternoon was activated, by mistake, a warning that triggers protocols on hijackings at the airport,” the airline tweeted.

“Nothing has happened, all passengers are safe and sound waiting to fly soon. We deeply apologise.”

READ ALSO: Chinese Experts To Help In Notre-Dame Reconstruction

The Dutch Royal Military Police had earlier said they were investigating a “suspect situation”, but announced an hour later that the passengers and crew were “safely off the plane.”

The plane was carrying 27 passengers, Dutch media said.

Pictures from the scene showed police vehicles and ambulances clustered around the plane while parts of the airport were cordoned off by the false alarm.

Schiphol is one of Europe’s busiest airports, handling more than 70 million passengers a year, according to its website.


Lampard Proud Of ‘Best Win’ As Chelsea Manager


Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hailed his side’s 1-0 victory at Ajax in the Champions League as his best yet in charge of the Blues.

Lampard made a telling impact with his substitutions at the Johan Cruyff Arena as Christian Pulisic set up Michy Batshuayi to score the winner four minutes from time.

After a difficult start to his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, Lampard has now masterminded six straight wins in all competitions.

“It is (the best win),” the former England midfielder told BT Sport. “I’m so happy, I knew how tough this game would be.

“To play and beat them and deserve to beat them means we are absolutely top all over the pitch. I was so, so proud of the performance.”

READ ALSO: Batshuayi Fires Chelsea To Late Ajax Win

Victory in Amsterdam puts Chelsea level with last season’s Champions League semi-finalists on six points at the top of Group H and back on track to make the last 16 after a home defeat to Valencia on matchday one.

“It was very important after losing the first game against Valencia,” said Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

“We showed a great ability to control the game after the first 15-20 minutes.

“We had a lot of chances to win the game, we were brave, we pressed high and very happy to get a late goal from Michy.”

Batshuayi has had to be patient for his chance to shine under Lampard with Tammy Abraham’s fine form keeping the Belgian international on the sidelines.

Lampard introduced Batshuayi ahead of French international Olivier Giroud for the final 20 minutes and he had the desired effect by smashing in off the underside of the bar from Pulisic’s cut-back.

“The other two (Giroud and Batshuayi) stay patient, work hard, support the group and have talent. He’s waited for his moment and fully deserved it,” added Lampard.

Batshuayi Fires Chelsea To Late Ajax Win

Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Chelsea on October 23, 2019 at the Johan Cruijff Arena, in Amsterdam. John THYS / AFP


Chelsea showed that their young side were ready for the European stage on Wednesday after Michy Batshuayi’s late winner fired them to a 1-0 Champions League win at Ajax that puts them square in the fight for the knockout stages.

Substitute Batshuayi struck in the 86th minute to seal a hugely impressive win in Amsterdam that puts Chelsea level on six points with last year’s semi-finalists at the top of Group H.

Valencia will have the chance to draw alongside their group rivals with a win at Lille later on Wednesday.

“It’s feels huge, which always scares me because there’s a lot to do. We’re entitled to be excited about the way we played tonight,” Lampard told reporters.

“That’s the blueprint. No excuses from now to dip from that.”

Frank Lampard’s side had to ride their luck in the Johan Cruyff Arena, with Quincy Promes’ first half tap-in ruled out for the tightest of offsides and Edson Alvarez hitting the post with a diving header near the hour mark.

However, a youthful Chelsea showed they could compete with Europe’s top sides despite losing Eden Hazard in the summer, going toe-to-toe with one of the continent’s most dynamic attacking teams in a tight contest before winning their sixth straight match in all competitions.

They face Ajax at Stamford Bridge in the next round of games in a clash that on Wednesday’s evidence looks to be the key in deciding who tops the group.

“They’re still babies in terms of Champions League minutes… football will continue to give you tests all the time to I don’t want to say they’re there or ‘this is it’,” added Lampard.

“But I thought the balance of young players that are learning quickly and the experienced players who they rely on to set examples feels good.”

Stifled Ajax curse luck

In a match littered with sloppy passing in the final third, it was another substitute in Christian Pulisic who provided a moment of quality to slot a low cross across the area that Batshuyai got to first.

The Belgian’s finish squeezed in off the crossbar to send Chelsea’s players and fans wild and provide Ajax with their first defeat of a season that had seen them continue with the form that bewitched Europe last season.

Chelsea restricted Ajax’s talented attacking side, led by Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech, to just two shots on target, while academy graduates Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham initially led the charge at the other end.

Lampard spoke very highly of Hudson-Odoi on Tuesday and the winger was a threat on the left, even though the youngster was wasteful when he got the ball.

The 18-year-old gave the ball away in attacking positions a number of times in the first half and fired a very presentable chance wide in the 27th minute when a Marcos Alonso cross dropped to him in the area.

The only shot on target in the opening period came from Mount, who played a neat one-two with Hudson-Odoi before forcing Andre Onana into a smart save at his near post.

However it was Promes who came closest to opening the scoring when he pounced on Hakim Ziyech’s deflected shot to tap home, only to see the goal ruled out as he celebrated with his teammates and supporters.

The home fans could hardly believe their luck when Alvarez’s header bounced off the upright after the break, as Chelsea’s defence briefly wobbled before regaining composure and becoming the second team this season to shut out flamboyant Ajax.

Lampard sent on Pulisic and Batshuayi for Willian and Abraham and the move almost paid off immediately, the striker finding himself completely free in the box in the 73rd minute only to lash his finish way over the bar.

However he soon had his winner thanks to American Pulisic, himself just 21, who has been left out of the limelight this season but made an impact when he laid on his attacking partner for a huge winner.

Police Shoot Two In Suspected Terror Attack In Amsterdam

Security officials stand alert outside The Central Railway Station in Amsterdam on August 31, 2018, after two people were hurt in a stabbing incident. Germain MOYON / AFP


Two people were stabbed at Amsterdam’s busy Central Station on Friday before the alleged attacker was shot and wounded, Dutch police said.

“A suspect has been shot after a stabbing incident at Amsterdam Central Station,” Dutch police said on Twitter.

It is not known at this stage whether the incident is terror-related.

Police told Dutch media that the assailant’s motive was unknown, and later tweeted that they were “looking at all scenarios.”

Initially, police indicated that the station — which is located in the Dutch capital’s historic canal-ringed city centre — had been evacuated and closed off to all rail traffic.

However, police shortly afterwards issued an update to say there was “no talk” of a complete evacuation and that only two platforms had been closed off to passengers.

The two wounded people and the knife-wielding suspect were taken to hospital, Amsterdam police said, although their condition was not revealed.

A witness told the local Amsterdam AT broadcaster that the attacker was a man in his 30s.

One of the victims is believed to be a young foreign man who was stabbed in the hand.

Multiple police vehicles and ambulances were seen outside the large red-brick station, while red and white police tape cordoned off an area.

Security officials and police officers stood guard wearing high-visibility vests.

Images posted on social media by people at the station showed security guards ushering passengers towards exits and paramedics arriving at the scene with stretchers.

The Netherlands has so far been spared from the slew of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in the past few years.

But amid a number of scares and reports that people linked to some of the attacks may have crossed briefly into the country, concerned top Dutch security and intelligence officials have stressed that the threat level is substantial.

Around 250,000 people travel through Central Station every day, according to statistics provided by the travel guide.

Trams, which leave from the front of the station were not running, police said, adding that more information was not immediately available.


One Killed In Shooting In Amsterdam

FILE PHOTO                                                                                           Credit: Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP


One person was killed and another injured in a shooting in Amsterdam, a major tourist hub, Dutch police said Thursday.

“There was a shooting on Wednesday evening in the  Krootstraat street in the southeast of Amsterdam. There were two casualties,” they said in a statement said.

One of the victims died, the other was injured and taken to hospital for treatment, it added.

There was no apparent terror link to Wednesday’s incident.

Amsterdam has been the scene of an escalating gang war between criminal groups involved in drug trafficking.

Several people have been killed in a string of violent incidents since the fights began in 2012.

“A suspect has been arrested and fingerprints were taken at the crime scene,” Thursday’s police statement said.

A shooting in downtown Amsterdam in January left a 17-year-old boy dead and two other people injured.

In March 2016, the decapitated head of a man was found at the entrance to a hookah bar known to police as being a hangout for city criminals, the day after his body had been found in a burnt-out car.


Amsterdam To Beef Up Security After Barcelona Attacks

Several Killed In Barcelona "Terror Attack" – Report
Photo Source: Twitter// @NPR

Amsterdam is beefing up its security measures following the deadly Barcelona terror attacks two weeks ago, including looking at shortening queues at major attractions, the city’s mayor said on Thursday.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said he and law enforcement officials have spoken: “with several large tourist attractions about the current terror threat.”

“The meeting was organised because of the recent attacks in Spain” that left 16 people dead, Van der Laan said in a letter, published on the Amsterdam’s city council’s website.

The Netherlands has so far been spared the terror strikes that have rocked its European neighbours recently.

But top Dutch security and intelligence officials have been keeping a wary eye on events.

The Dutch capital, with its scenic canals, top museums and red light district, is a major tourist drawcard which sees some 17 million visitors a year, according to a 2016 study by the city’s official marketing arm.

“We have decided that possible additional measures can be taken at certain venues including shortening of queues and protecting people waiting in queues,” Van der Laan said.

“We have (also) agreed that representatives of tourist attractions will train with police and medical services on what to do during a (possible) attack,” the mayor said.

He said the venues included in the talks included the popular Heineken Experience as well as the city’s Museumplein (Museum Square) that houses the Rijks, Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums.

“I cannot ever exclude the possibility of an attack,” Van der Laan said but added that “also, it’s undesirable to take measures at all places where an attack can take place. The impact on normal life would be unacceptably high”.

The mayor’s announcement came the day after the Netherland’s second city Rotterdam announced it was taking new measures to prevent possible terror attacks by car or by truck, including placing concrete barriers disguised as flower pots in the harbour city’s centre.

A man arrested last week in connection with a suspected terror plot against a Rotterdam concert venue was remanded in custody for two more weeks on Wednesday, as police investigated his involvement.


MH17 Downing: Report Says Missile Came From Russia

Dutch, mh17A Dutch-led team of prosecutors that looked into the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, has released its findings, saying the missile came from Russia.

The international team, which gathered evidence for a possible criminal trial, release the report on Wednesday.

The report said the missile was fired from territories controlled by Russian-backed rebels.

An earlier inquiry by the Dutch Safety Board concluded that a Russian-made Buk missile hit the plane, without saying who fired it.

The Boeing 777 broke apart mid-air, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people aboard.

Prosecutors from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine are also part of the Joint Investigation Team, (JIT).

Earlier this week, Russia produced radar images which, it argued, showed that the plane could not have come from rebel-held areas.

Critics have also pointed out that Russian officials have given three versions of events since the plane was shot down.

A source in the prosecutor’s office told the BBC that they would pinpoint the launch site and identify the weapon.

“If they confirm what we already think we know, that a Buk missile was launched from inside territory, controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, it will be difficult to deny their involvement.”

Many of the families have, however, expressed their frustration over the fact that after two years, the investigators still can’t tell them who was responsible and why.

According to the BBC, Hans de Borst, whose 17-year-old daughter Elsemiek, was on board, says he’s “not expecting miracles”.

Meanwhile, Barry Sweeney, who lost his 28-year-old son Liam, said all he wants to know is, “why?”.

Denmark Votes On Migrant Assets Bill

denmark policeThe Danish parliament will on Tuesday vote on a highly controversial proposal to confiscate asylum seekers’ valuables to pay for their upkeep.

The proposal drew sharp criticism at home and abroad when it was announced earlier this month.

The BBC reported that Danish authorities insisted the policy brings migrants in line with jobless Danes, who must sell assets above a certain level to claim benefits.

With broad cross-party support, the bill looks set to pass into law.

The government would also vote on another controversial proposal – delaying family reunifications for refugees and migrants in an attempt to discourage them from travelling to the country.

Denmark expects to receive around 20,000 asylum seekers in 2016, compared to 15,000 last year.

Amnesty International had said that war refugees would face “an impossible choice” if the waiting period to apply to bring over their family was increased from one year to three.

“Either bring children and other loved ones on dangerous, even lethal journeys, or leave them behind and face a prolonged separation,” said Amnesty spokesperson, Gauri van Gulik.

Thousands of refugees and other migrants had arrived in Denmark this year, many of them in transit to Sweden, after arriving illegally by sea in southern Europe.

Several EU states said on Monday that they plan to prolong temporary border controls introduced in recent months for as many as two years, in order to reduce the number of migrants entering from neighbouring nations.

The announcement came after a meeting of EU interior ministers in Amsterdam.

Dutch Publishes Report On Cause Of MH17 Ukraine Disaster

Dutch Publishes Report On Cause Of MH17 Ukraine DisasterOver one year after the horrible MH17 tragedy occurred in Ukraine, the Dutch Safety Board has published a final report on why the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 broke mid-air in 2014, killing all 298 on board.

The report says the plane crashed as a result of a Russian-made Buk missile.

The missile hit the front left of the plane, as a result of which part of the plane broke off.

The West and Ukraine say Russian-backed rebels brought down the Boeing 777, but Russia claims the missile was fired from Ukrainian-controlled territory.

This report will, however, not apportion blame.

The plane, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in rebel-held Eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 at the height of the conflict between government troops and the pro-Russian separatists.

The victims included 196 Dutch nationals and 10 Britons.

Benfica Displays Confidence Ahead Of Chelsea Europa League Clash

Benfica showed much display of confidence ahead of their Europa League Final clash against Stamford Bridge giants; Chelsea next week.

Allowing several journalists into their Seixal training camp to watch and grant a few interviews can be seen as mind games ahead of the crucial clash.

One of the interviews was with Coach Jorge Jesus who says his main concern is the weekend’s decisive championship clash against fierce rivals Porto and not the Europa League final which will take place in Amsterdam next Wednesday.

“Our priority in terms of objectives is the championship,” he said. “We have been saying this since the first day we started this journey.”

It will be the first European final in 23 years for the Lisbon club, who lost to AC Milan in the European Cup showpiece in 1990, and they have not won a European trophy since the second of their successive European Cups in 1962.

“We are very confident,” said Jesus.

“It’s a step for Benfica to reach their first European final for 23 years. The results we have got so far have taken us to this final. As always we have a lot of respect for Chelsea, but we very confident that we can win it.”

Influential Serbian international Nemanja Matic is ready to show Chelsea what they lost in next week’s Europa League final after he failed to impress in London and was shuttled to Benfica as part of David Luiz’s big-money signing for Chelsea in 2011.

“To tell the truth I don’t have any special feeling because for me that game is like every game in the Portuguese league or in the cup,” said Matic, who played two matches in two years at Stamford Bridge.

“Of course, it’s a final, we play against a good team and me and all the team will be at our best to win.”

This season Matic has earned the nickname “Spider”, because of his long and thin legs, coupled with his agility across the pitch.

He seemed pleased when asked what he thought about the moniker.

“I didn’t know that. Spider!? It is funny,” said the usually serious Serb said with a grin.