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While brothels of course existed in Amsterdam before this, the sexual revolution had a huge impact in the Netherlands. As minds opened or closed, according to others and morals loosened, pornography and prostitution, including sex clubs, gained popularity and, in some cases, notoriety.
Since the Middle Ages, prostitution has existed openly in Amsterdam with prostitutes seen as a necessary evil to protect the good, chaste ladies of society from harassment by 'unmarried men'.
Tolerance of the profession has tended to go up and down with the prevailing morals of the time. From 17th-century Calvinists to the armies of Napoleon, many groups found prostitution in Amsterdam to be acceptable, while just as many despised it. At the start of the 20th century, the attitudes to prostitution in Amsterdam especially towards the brothel owners who exploited the prostitutes were very strict and stopped just short of outlawing the practice.
This all changed in the wake of the s' sexual revolution. The prostitutes union, the Rode Draad Red Thread was founded in and in the ban on brothels i. With the girls freely able to work and pay taxes, this created a relatively secure working environment for luxury brothels in Amsterdam. These days, prostitution in Amsterdam is accepted and, in fact, quite important to the city's tourist trade.
The brothels can still be a headache for the authorities, however. One aspect is the brothel's claim that their girls are independent entrepreneurs rather than employees, in order to foil the tax man.