Besides writing about the ins and outs of the Red Light District, I LOVE reading. During my last holiday I read two books. One paperback thriller I won’t bother you with. But the other one I will tell you all about since it is called “Amsterdam Exposed – An American Journey Into The Red Light District“.
The book was released only a few weeks ago and written By David Wienir. And if The Red Light District interests you in any way, this is a definite must read! It has it all; history, romance, information, humor and truth.
Writing about a prostitute
The book is set in the end of the 90’s. A decade without internet or mobile phones, which will give you a melancholic sense of awe right from the start. David Wienir writes about his own experiences as an American Law student in Amsterdam at the Vrije Universiteit. These suck you easily into the battle he faces as a newbee to the city and his struggle to find the story he wishes to write.
David describes his experiences in an approachable manner, I could see him cycling down the Haarlemmerstraat and strolling through the Red Light District with his joint. He talks about the friends he made and the typically Dutch situations he ended up in. Whether those might be a little magnified or not, all together the story makes you want to have David and Emma end up together.
Writing about Dutch culture
Some events in the book put the Dutch Amsterdammers in a bit of a quirky place. Like when the shoarma man screams at him because he asks for an extra napkin. Or when when the waitress screams at David for asking for an extra cookie. I have never had an issue with this. Also it is not a thing that fathers take their Dutch teenage sons to the Red Light District. I have never heard of something like this either.
But then again I don’t know what the 90’s were like in the Red Light District since I was 10 a that time. I do know shouting at people for extra napkins or cookies, I’ve personally never had to deal with it anywhere in the NL.
But still, in the 90’s things might have been different and I am Dutch so good chance my sub consciousness never let me ask for extra cookies or napkins in an American way. Plus, the USA invented refills and XL menu’s ;). I get the culture clash.
In the beginning David explains that the Dutch do not tip. Again, the 90’s for me consisted of Barbies and My Little Pony, but I do know now it is very much appreciated if you tip. Especially waiters and waitresses, who almost all get underpaid as you may have learned in one of my previous blog articles.
Amsterdam Exposed draws you in
Besides these small eye openers toward Dutch culture in the 90’s, the book draws you into the narrow side streets of the notorious Red Light District page by page. How he slowly familiarizes with other locals there and gets to know Emma. She makes you wonder each time they meet up: Will he sleep with her or not? Does he pay her or not?
I picture Emma in each one of the ladies who enters my coffeebar. There’s even one who comes in regularly I know lives in Arnhem. I haven’t asked her. I want to keep the story going on in my head a little longer. Although I do wonder now if he ever found her after the release of the book.