Dating artists and prostitutes
Even so, prostitution was actively prosecuted: in Amsterdam prostitution and brothel-keeping accounted for more than a fifth of all convicted crimes from 1650 to 1750.In this fast-growing city, immigrants and passing sailors lived in the poorest and most overcrowded neighborhoods near the harbor.The suppression of prostitution as a trade was a nearly impossible job for the authorities: urbanized, seafaring, and wealthy Holland possessed too many characteristics favoring widespread prostitution.This applied most of all to Amsterdam, which, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was the third largest European city after Paris and London.In the early modern period, concern lay not with prostitution in its current sense but with , “whoring,” a word used for all sex outside the marriage bed, irrespective of whether money changed hands.“Public whores,” their procurers, and brothel-keepers, however, were accorded special punishments in municipal and provincial ordinances; brothels were to be “disturbed” and closed.
In the seventeenth century, the city government would have preferred to chase the strumpets from town, but given a police force (comprising the bailiff, his substitutes, and their constables) of only thirty men, this was hardly feasible.
Like London and Paris, Amsterdam acquired an international reputation for prostitution.
Beginning in the second half of the seventeenth century, at least a thousand prostitutes resided in the city at any one time, along with hundreds of brothel-keepers.
Amsterdam was famous for the latter, with their live music and dancing, and their harlots ready to pick up clients.
Given the scarcity of separate rooms in these establishments, the prostitutes usually took the men to the whorehouses where they lived with their bawd.