Prostitution in the Netherlands: Do you know what is allowed?

What are the rules for me?
You are allowed to work as a sex worker if you are 18 years (this may change to 21) or older and you are from an EU member state or you have a residence permit
What are the rules for my client?
Client of prostitutes are not committing a criminal offence as long as the sex worker is 18 years old. Clients themselves have to be 18 years old.
What are the rules for the club/brothel/window owner?
Operating workplaces where sex workers offer their services (window, sex club, private house, escort agency) is not prohibited. However, the municipality must issue an appropriate permit.

Pimping is forbidden in the Netherlands
A pimp is somebody who incites or forces another person to work as a prostitute. A 'Loverboy' is also a pimp.

Proof of identity

If you work in prostitution, you must carry a passport or proof of identification with you.
The police are not allowed to write down your details. They can only do so if they suspect that you have committed a criminal offence.
If this is not the case, you can refuse to provide your details.


In contrast to some countries, the police in the Netherlands are trustworthy. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. The police are not allowed to pick you up or issue you with a fine without reason.
So, go to the police if:
•You have been assaulted
•You have been robbed
•You have been raped.
You are always entitled to report this.

Suspected human trafficking

Do you suspect that somebody is a victim of human trafficking? Or that somebody is being forced into prostitution? Report this to the club owner, police, or community health clinic or via the helpline operated by Report Crime Anonymously - Meld Misdaad Anoniem: 0800 7000.

Advantages of working legally

• The place where you work is relatively safe because there is usually supervision.
• The workplace can easily be visited by the community health clinic. You can get tested or ask for help.
• The workplace is checked regularly by the fire service and vice squad/police.
• The working conditions are usually better than places without a permit.