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When can you start?

Prostitution is a legal profession in The Netherlands. It is important that it is your own choice of course. You are allowed to work as a sex worker if:
• you are 18 years old or over, in Amsterdam 21 years or over;
• you have a legal resident’s permit (no tourist visa);
• you are not forced by others to do this work;
• you are not forced to hand over your money to others;
• you work at a licensed workplace.

What do you need?


A registration is needed. You should be registered at the town register office (Gemeentelijke Basis Administratie (Dutch:GBA). The personal details of everybody who lives or lived in The Netherlands are registered here. Your address can be your home address or the address of a close friend. You do need this person’s permission though.

National Identity Number

Your national identity number (Dutch:BSN) is a unique number which is linked to your personal details. It is a unique personal number for everyone who is registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database. As soon as you have registered at the town register office, you will receive your national identity number.
Please note: having a national identity number does not automatically mean that you will have to pay tax. For this you should register at the tax authorities (Dutch: Belastingdienst).

Work location

Workplaces for sex workers can be: their home, a window brothel, sex club or private sex house, escort service and on the street (street prostitution zones). Your choice should depend on your own preference and on the available workplaces in town.

At home

When you work from home you will receive clients there. Prostitution from your own home is not allowed in most towns. Town councils can decide on their own policy for prostitution. You can ask at the town council if prostitution from home is allowed. By phone and anonymously if you wish.

In Amsterdam the rules are that prostitution from home is not allowed when it can be seen as a business activity. Your work can be seen as a business activity when:

• You live and work together with other sex workers on the premises;
• Other people are involved (a partner for instance);
• You do not rent the property and you are not the owner;
• You are not registered at the address you are working from;
• It is visible from outside that it is a sex house, e.g. there is a red lamp at the front;
• There are noticeable visitors;
• The activities cause nuisance for neighbours;
• You have advertised, for instance on;
• You have registered with the Trade Register.

Window prostitution

Window prostitution means you rent a window and a room from the owner of the property for a definite period. For the rest you are independent. So you draw your own clients and you do the negotiation about price and services yourself. There is window prostitution in Amsterdam, Alkmaar, Leeuwarden, The Hague, Haarlem, Deventer, Doetinchem, Nijmegen, Groningen and Eindhoven.

As a window sex worker you are self-employed. You are the owner of the business. For this to be official there are a number of things you should do. First you should register with the Chamber of Commerce (Dutch: Kamer van Koophandel) and with the tax collectors office (Dutch: Belastingdienst)
You should also keep records of your earnings and expenses, to register for tax return and pay taxes. More information: ‘Tax payment for sex workers’. For information about licenses for window sex workers, click here ‘License’

Positive aspects could be:
• You are independent. You choose your own working hours. You are your own boss, no one has any power over you.
• You have direct client contact; you choose your clients yourself and you can also refuse them.
• It is relatively safe. There is CCTV in many window prostitution areas, so they are watched over and there are alarm buttons in most rooms.

Negative aspects could be:
• You are visible to everybody, including family, friends and acquaintances.
• The reactions of passers-by are not always favourable.
• You are accountable for your income tax return.


There are a few hundred licensed clubs and private sex houses in The Netherlands. In a club clients are received in the bar and the ladies are there too. Sometimes you only make small talk with the client, sometimes you then go to your room together.

For information about tax return in a club, click here. If you want to know if you need a license for work in a club, more information click here.

Positive aspects could be:
• The client pays for the time spent with you in your room and often extra for sexual services. So it is clever to have him stay longer, because you will earn more.
• Public Health officials will check regularly if your work place is clean and safe.
• A club may give you a feeling of safety as your fellow workers are close by. Moreover your work is not out in the open for everybody to see, so there is less chance of meeting acquaintances.
• You should pay income tax, but the owner of the club is responsible for it, so you need not save money for it yourself.

Negative aspects could be:
• They sell alcohol in a club. You will receive a percentage, so the more you drink the more you earn. Are you up to it? Drinking too much is not healthy and can make work more difficult for you.
• If you are not very good at having a conversation with a complete stranger, you should wonder if working at a club is your thing.

Private sex house

A private sex house is a kind of club. Together with other sex workers you are in a living room. Clients do not enter this room, so you can do whatever you like: watching TV, reading or painting your nails. When there is a client, the sex workers introduce themselves one by one. The client chooses one of them and together they go to one of the rooms.

For information on tax return when you work in a private sex house, click here .

Positive aspects could be:
• There is no need of chatting up the client, before going to the room (as in a club).
• There is no need to drink alcohol with your client. (You are never forced to drink alcohol in a club either).

Negative aspects could be:
• In general prices paid by clients are a little lower than at clubs.

Escort service

As an escort you have no fixed work place. There are three ways of working as an escort. You can be a completely independent escort, but almost everywhere in The Netherlands you need a license to be able to work. Check this with your town council to avoid getting into (financial) difficulties. Secondly you can work through an escort agency. Finally you can work in a club which is also licensed to provide escort services. So in that case you can be an escort to your client as well.
You must pay income tax. For more information: Taxes for sex workers. For information on licenses see License

Positive aspects could be:
• Eventful work: you are not in one place all the time. Your clients could claim you for an hour or as long as several days at a time.

Negative aspects could be:
• You should be able to keep up a lively conversation all the time. Your client expects you to be a nice companion.
• You need to keep a watch over your safety. You are alone with a client, without fellow sex workers close by.

On the street

You solicit clients on the street. In The Netherlands this is prohibited, unless you do this in special street prostitution zones. In these areas street prostitution is allowed. The facilities have been realized by the town council. It is a drive-in enclosure, where clients in cars drive a fixed route. The service is provided in the client’s car, which is parked between two partitions to ensure some privacy. Street prostitution zones are to be found in: Groningen, Arnhem, Nijmegen, Heerlen and Utrecht.

You must pay income tax. For more information: Tax for sex workers. In the street prostitution zones you do not need a license, though in most cases you do need a pass from the protitution zone itself.

Positive aspects could be:
• You can decide your own working hours
• Working on the street is free, no rent.

Negative aspects could be:
• You will earn less than at other work places.
• An id-card or pass is required at most street prostitution zones. There might be a waiting list to obtain one.
• You are accountable for your tax return.