Teenagers storm red-light district

Sixty Scottish schoolkids in kilts get lost in Amsterdam; seeking monuments, they find half-naked whores.

By Jack Boulware
Published April 18, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Regular clients and sex workers of Amsterdam's red-light district were stormed last week by a group of intruders who threatened to disrupt the status quo of the world's most notorious prostitution center.

The party of uninvited guests -- a tour of 60 Scottish schoolchildren -- stopped traffic with their appearance, distracting locals and causing sex workers to drop their business and take photographs. Adding insult to injury, the kids didn't even buy anything.

Even Dutch children don't dare wander into the infamous red-light area, which is quite obvious to anyone who lives there. But the Scottish teenagers claimed to be lost, sidetracked from a scheduled rugby and hockey tour. According to the Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail, boys and girls from the Glasgow Academy -- all wearing traditional kilts -- had come to see the national monument to Dutch victims of World War II, and ended up strolling past sex shops, love bars, and half-naked whores sitting in shop windows.

Amused at the spectacle, tourists and locals grabbed cameras and began taking photos of the pupils.

"It may have been an educational trip, but I think they just got lost and ended up there," said Dutch photographer Paul van Weel. "The girls seemed rather embarrassed and looked away. But the boys were thoroughly enjoying themselves."

Bouncers at one club attempted to talk the kids into stepping inside to catch a live show, added van Weel, but an angry teacher hurried the children away before any of the kids were able to critically appraise any sex acts or purchase prostitutes for themselves.

Former pupils of the vaunted Glasgow Academy include First Minister Donald Dewar and Lord Reith, the first BBC director-general. While such august alumni may well be no strangers to Amsterdam prostitution, the school has wisely avoided comment on its students' invasion.

The economic impact of this brutal assault upon Amsterdam's lucrative prostitution industry has yet to be assessed.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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