Utrecht's red light district / Zandpad (De Rosse Buurt). Copyright: George 2011

                                       Utrecht's Red Light Districts

Latest: Zandpad is due to re-open in Spring 2017.
On 25th July 2013 all red light windows in Utrecht closed. This included the picturesque canal boats at Zandpad as well as the small city centre Hardebollenstraat. The closures were due to suspected trafficking of women and rule breaking by the owners. As with most red light districts in Holland the rooms (boats in this case) are owned by a company that rents them to the ladies on a daily basis. Since the girls are in a vulnerable position there are strict rules about how the company must act. If there is any suspicion of abuse or exploitation the company loses it's license to operate.
To get an update on the situation I visited both areas in March 2015. Hardbollenstraat looked almost identical and Zandpad's only difference was boards over the windows. At the time there were rumours of a replacement RLD but nothing had been decided.
I created this page when both areas were open and have decided to leave it as an historic record. Zandpad lies 2.5 km (1.5 miles) North of the main station. It's like no other red light district in Holland. It consists of 34 house boats on a picturesque narrow stretch of river. 17 boats are South of the Marnixbrug and the other 17 are just North of it. Zandpad means 'sand path' though the sand has long been replaced by tarmac. Please note that the name Zandpad is also used on other stretches of the same river.
Utrecht ZandpadBoarded up boats in Zandpad
To get to Zandpad from the main station, exit to the East and go to the neighbouring bus station (Utrecht Centraal, Busstation Noord). Get bus no.6, no.7 or no.26 ensuring that it's going in the direction of Rozenstraat, Sint Jacobsstraat, Oudenoord, David van Mollemstraat, Nijenoord and Anton Geesink. After 7 or 8 minutes get off at stop Anton Geesink (Note the other bus stop for your return journey towards the other end of Anton Geesink). Near the bus stop you will see a bridge with a fancy red structure. Cross this bridge and immediately turn left so you are walking along Jagerskade beside the river. After 700m (760 yards) or so you will be at the first house boat (no.102) on Zandpad. There are other routes but I consider this the best.
Hardebollentstraat is the other red light district in Utrecht. It's a small road about 800m (1/2 mile) NE of the main station. You can see where it is on the map immediately below. The street only has a tiny number of windows and is mostly used by locals.  See my map lower down page.
A historic drawing of Hardebollenstraat from the late 17th century can be seen here.
 
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Zandpad (closed)
Below are the maps of Zandpad I compiled on 18th August 2011.  Click on any location to view one of the many photos I took on that day. I have also added mouseover images for easier browsing. A printable version of Utrecht's red light district maps is available here. All three conveniently fits onto a single A4 sheet with room for notes. All photos and maps are Copyright © George 2012.
Utrecht's Zandpad red light district

 

Utrecht's Zandpad red light district

 

 

Hardebollenstraat (closed)
Hardebollentstraat is the little known red light street in the middle of Utrecht. As with the Zandpad map it was compiled on 18th August 2011 and includes links to the photos I took that day. Many red light districts in Holland have rooms with no visible numbering. For this reason I had to make a few guesses and these uncertainties are shown in green. Black writing shows actual numbering as it occurs on the buildings. Even this is somewhat confusing since 10/12/14 for example are listed together on one building which is divided into 4 rooms. Last checked in August 2012
A printable version of Utrecht's red light district maps is available here. All three conveniently fits onto a single A4 sheet with room for notes. All photos and maps are Copyright © George 2012.
Utrecht's Hardebollenstraat red light district


All content copyright © George 2008 - 2013
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