Amsterdam and tourisms
Yesterday the director of the Rijksmuseum, Wim Pijbes, wrote in an open letter in the newspaper NRC about how 'dirty, sleazy and too full' Amsterdam was getting. According to Wim Pijbes the city can't handle the giant stream of tourists that Amsterdam is getting since the reopening of the Rijksmuseum. An interesting thing, especially since if he's complaining that Amsterdam is getting 'too full', that's the fault of his own Rijksmuseum and the giant stream of new tourists that it's attracted. In other words, he's complaining about a problem of which he is the main cause himself.
On top of that, the rebuilding of the Rijksmuseum took more then a decade and cost 375 million Euro's, and after spending all that money, over such a long period of time, now he's complaining about too many tourists coming to it?
It's absolutely bullshit by the way, because if I look at how many tourists there where a couple of years ago, versus how many there are now, there are way less tourists coming to Amsterdam now then before. If I look sometimes at Dam square on a regular Friday it's almost empty, when before you could almost walk on people.

There are things Wim Pijbes mentions I do agree with, like the rubbish and garbage bags on the streets, bikes everywhere (especially the Dam seems to have been turned into a parking lot for bikes some times).
But what I think is absolutely disgusting about his whole open letter, is that he literally writes:

"En, wellicht een illusie: sluit de ogen niet voor de beschamende wantoestanden in de prostitutie, inclusief vrouwenhandel van minderjarige Roemeense en Hongaarse meisjes en andere slachtoffers [...] Hoe vrolijk de Wallen er ’s avonds ook uitzien, achter de roze schijn gaat een grimmige wereld schuil. ‘Bad money drives out good money’, geldt ook hier."

Translation:
"And, perhaps an illusion: don't close your eyes for the shameful situation in the prostitution, including the women trafficking of underage Romanian and Hungarian girls and other victims [...] How nice the Red Light District may seem at night, behind the pink appearance there's a shade world. 'Bad money drives out good money', is also the case here."

I wonder when the last time was when Wim Pijbes talked to a minor in the Red Light District? Becuase this is complete bullshit! There are no minors in the Red Light District! This man talks about things he knows nothing about, but does think he has to right to say things about us!
And just for your information Wim, the Red Light District is RED and not PINK! I think you're confusing the minors present at the Gay Pride with the girls behind the windows in red light here. I know, I know, both are completely disgusting things probably in your opinion, this whole idea of open sexuality, exposing things in such openness and the idea that sex is open and available throughout Amsterdam, but we don't live in the 1950's anymore.

And what does Wim Pijbes mean with 'good money drives out bad money'? Is he suggesting the money of the tourists visiting Amsterdam's Red Light District is less worth then those who visit his precious Rijksmuseum?
Pijbes is happy to report that after years Amsterdam is finally back in the top 25 cities in the world, thanks to his Rijksmuseum. But let's not forget who got Amsterdam in the top 25 in the first place, that wasn't his Rijksmuseum (however bad he might have wanted it to be), but Amsterdam's most famous Red Light District with it's open culture and tolerance towards drugs (coffeeshops), gay people and prostitution.
Which also begs the question why Amsterdam has been absent for so many years from the top 25 list. Could it perhaps be that the measures of the city government of Amsterdam to close down a large part of Amsterdam's most famous district has caused tourists to stay away from Amsterdam? After all, closing down a part of your largest touristic attraction does tend to force tourists to look at other places.

It seems to me, like Wim Pijbes is warning that Amsterdam can't cope with the giant stream of tourists anymore, and things need to change. I agree with that, garbage is not a nice sight, there are way too many bikes at some places that require a parking place and I would also like to see a more cleaned up Amsterdam. But apparently Pijbes seems to be scared that if he does achieve this with his letter, the tourists aren't going to come to his precious Rijksmuseum, but to other touristic attractions that he tries to put down as negative in his article. The canal cruise boats for instance are the most polluting to him, illegal short-stay hotels are 'dangerous for life' according to him, the Red Light District is a giant criminal place full of underage forced prostitutes and 'shady' coffeeshops that cause the youth 'to flip out psychotic'.
Basically it comes down to this: more tourists are welcome, as long as they come to 'his' Rijksmuseum, and don't go to any of the other big touristic attractions like the canal cruise boats to see Amsterdam's famous canals and Amsterdam's biggest touristic attraction itself, the Amsterdam Red Light District with it's brothels and coffeeshops. Pijbes prefers by the way the tourists that are 'rich' enough to pay for over-expensive hotels, rather than short-stay stay hotels, that offer accommodation for a lower price. Not such a surprise, he knows that his tourists, the tourists that want to visit museums, don't want to stay in a short-stay hotel, but rather choose luxury over price, and go to over-expensive hotels.

Wim Pijbes is a scared man. He's afraid that Amsterdam can't cope with the giant stream of tourists that the reopening of the Rijksmuseum has caused, and fears that if the city doesn't change, the tourists won't come back to his Rijksmuseum, but we'll get back the tourists that come for Amsterdam's Red Light District and canal cruises, not exactly the type of people that would visit his museum in his idea. But in my experience the tourists that visit the Red Light District and it's borthels and coffeeshops also go to 'his' Rijksmuseum, so apparently Pijbes is not informed about who his own visitors are.
He wants more tourists, but he definitely doesn't want them to come to any other famous attractions in Amsterdam but 'his' Rijksmuseum, and is willing to make completely false claims about that, like for instance minors working in prostitution, in order to scare people away from there, and attract only 'the rich'.
Apparently Pijbes is scared as fuck that his tourists might discover there's more to Amsterdam then just 'his' Rijksmuseum, and does everything to keep them away from there, and to keep his customers coming back.

Perhaps it would be wise if Pijbes would look at the paintings in his own museum, and looks at the history of this city, and that what made it big. Like it or not, but what made Amsterdam big are it's unique canals, and especially one part that's called the Red Light District. There many tourists are going to celebrate Amsterdam's openness and tolerance towards soft drugs, the LGBT community and prostitution. These tourists would rather spend less money on a hotel they'll barely use anyway, and would rather spend it on smoking weed, going out in the many clubs and bars and visiting the girls at the Red Light. Those are the tourists that also spend a lot of money when they come here, and give a huge impulse to Amsterdam's economy, not the people who buy a ticket at the Rijksmuseum for 15 Euro's and go home the next day.

Wim Pijbes is only marketing his own Rijksmuseum at the costs of all the other touristic attractions. To me this just proves how uncertain Pijbes is about the future of his success. Apparently he's so scared that his success will diminish, and people will re-discover the Red Light District and it's canals as an attraction, that he'll lie, deceive and manipulate the public opinion in order to keep his success going.

It's strange how well this story fits within an article I wrote a while ago, about how Amsterdam was never really interested in fighting human trafficking and crime, but rather in attracting a different type of tourist, like I wrote here. Wim Pijbes his open letter just proves how right I was about that, in almost every single detail.
Amsterdam is giving off negative information about it's Red Light District, the prostitutes and coffeeshops, not because there's really crime going on there that much, but because they don't like those tourists. They want 'rich' tourists who visit museums, and not the Red Light District.
Wim Pijbes almost seems to have been instructed by the PVDA in Amsterdam, to play along with their plan, which works in his advantage and that of the PVDA. It also showcases how desperate the PVDA has become in order to make their plan work. The PVDA has realized it's loosing it's credibility with their story after several media have reported about it's real intentions, and are now using their puppets, like district attorney Jolanda de Boer and now director of the Rijksmuseum Wim Pijbes, to give some more credibility to their story. They believe that if other people, people with stature, will back-up their story, it will give their plan more credibility, and they can continue with their plan to reduce the Red Light District, and make the Rijksmuseum the main attraction. The question is of course, do those people want the blood of the victims on their hands?
After all, the closing down of the Red Light District will only resolve in loosing track of victims, and possibly even create more victims because they become prey to pimps. Do they want to have that blood on their hands?

But what I really don't understand is, how someone can claim things about things he knows nothing about! Wim Pijbes doesn't even live in Amsterdam, he lives in Rotterdam. His statements about coffeeshops, and how they would have a bad influence on the psyche of the youth is complete nonsense, since you have to be 18 to even go inside a coffeeshop. And the exact same thing is true about prostitution, there are NO underage girls at the Red Light District, for the very simply reason that you have to be 21 to work here. Above all, you need to be registered at the Chambers of Commerce, otherwise you can't even get a room, and to register there you also need to be 18. So there's simply no way, and also every human trafficking case proves this, since there hasn't been a single case of an underage girl working in Amsterdam's Red Light District since the minimum age has been raised to 21.
If I look where I work, and look at the girls that work in my street, they're all girls that are almost in their 30's. That's not even close to a minor! In fact, many of the women working in Amsterdam's Red Light District are closer to 30 then they are to 18. We may look young to some people, but that's just in our genes. We can't help it that we look younger then many Dutch people do, in our eyes Dutch women when they're 16 look like they're 30 already (including the way they dress)! In fact, older Dutch women look better then their own daughters, they take better care of how they look and dress.
But just because we look young, doesn't mean that we are. Most women are closer to 30 who are doing this job. I'm close to 28 now, and still get questions from people who ask me if I'm old enough to be doing this job.

Pijbes is making claims about things he knows nothing about. I could also make claims about his Rijksmuseum like this, like the fact that the paintings hanging there are fake ones and not the real ones. After all, did you really think they would endanger the original paintings by hanging them in front of some lunatics who want to damage such a painting? Of course not!
The damaging of the Nightwatch back in 1975 proves the kind of lunatics that visit museums (source here). And of course this is not the only time a painting has been damaged, there have been many cases in which some idiot tries to damage a famous painting. In fact, it happens so often I think there are more criminals hanging around in his museum who want to damage 'his' paintings, then there are criminals in the entire Red Light District!
No, the Rijksmusem doesn't show the original paintings, these are all fake. I've never been there to make such claims, but that doesn't matter, since Pijbes also makes claims about my workplace which he knows nothing about. His paintings are fake, he keeps the real ones hanging in the basement of the Rijksmuseum, but still tells people these are the real ones, otherwise nobody would buy a ticket to watch a fake painting.
Pijbes is a scam artists, blaming others to be scammers, while in fact being the biggest scammer himself.
I'll never go to the Rijksmuseum anymore, and I'll tell each and every one of my clients to never go to watch those fake paintings. After all, why pay 15 Euro's for a watching a bunch of fake paintings in a poorly lit museum? Spend a little more, and you'll get something that will satisfy you way more then watching a poorly lit fake painting, you'll get to spend 15 minutes with the woman of your dreams.

Dutch version
1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Haha,

    Took me a while to read all of this I must say but you do have a skill at ranting, I'm worried that not even I am this good :)).
    I'm from Romania ( Timisoara ) an I saw an interview of yours online which brought me here.
    When I'll visit Amsterdam I'll take a trip to both the Rijksmuseum and the Red Light District. Yes I know they're fakes but they're still good enough copies of some of the world's greatest artist and even though I'm not an art fan at all for 15E I'll go see them and spend 1-2 hours of my life.
    Yes, what this guy did is not nice and not fair but responding to something like this in the same way is maybe not the best option. I'd go and visit his museum and even try to get to tell him that those horrible sex workers actually don't have a problem with visiting his museum, but does he dare visit you ?
    I'm just saying that sometimes when someone is looking for a fight the best way to respond to it is to be friendly, the opposite of what that person expects. This will surely catch that person by surprise and leave him without any response whatsoever.
    I'm not sure you even read these but if you do let me know what you think. You don't need to agree of course, it's just a point of view and one way of looking at it.

    Signed ,
    Just a geek


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    Romanian prostitute working in the Red Light District in Amsterdam (De Wallen), speaking out for the truth behind prostitution. Blogging about prostitution, human trafficking, forced prostitution, politics and all the myths surrounding it. Member of PROUD, the Dutch union of sex workers.