Start with sex work

When can you start?

In the Netherlands, sex work is a legal profession. First and foremost, of course, this work must be of your own accord (choice), you should not forced/coerced to be a sex worker or hand over what you earn to someone else.

A sex worker in Amsterdam must abide by these rules:

  • Be 21 years of age or older.
  • Be able to communicate with the operator or supervisor in a language you both speak and understand.
  • Have a valid Dutch passport, an EU passport or another valid identity document as per the Compulsory Identification Act.
  • Have official permission to work in the Netherlands.
  • Be registered in the trade register of the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) if you work as a zzp’er (independent contractor without staff).
  • Please note that you need a valid licence for almost all types of sex work.

What do you need?

Registration address

You need a registration address. You can register at the municipality where you (are going to) live with the Basic Registration of Persons (Basisregistratie personen or BRP). The BRP contains the personal details of everyone who lives or has lived in the Netherlands. The registration address can be your own residential address but it can also be the address of someone you know. Please note, you will need their permission.

Citizen Service Number

A Citizen Service Number (Burgerservicenummer or BSN) is a unique number linked to your personal details. As soon as you register yourself at the BRP you will receive a BSN number.

Health insurance

Health insurance is compulsory in the Netherlands. It pays the costs of your visits to the GP (huisarts) and hospital, as well as most medications. Even if you do not live in the Netherlands, but work and pay income tax within the Netherlands, you must take out Dutch healthcare insurance.

The basic insurance covers standard care from the GP, hospital or pharmacy. Most care in the basic package is subject to a deductible. Personal contributions may also apply. For detailed information, visit the page on Health Insurance.

To take out health insurance, you need a DigiD.


DigiD allows you to be uniquely identified when you log into the government, education, tax authorities, healthcare or your pension fund online (either on your smartphone or a computer). Thanks to your DigiD, you can log in easily and safely anywhere. Your personal data remains well protected.

Bank account

It is wise to open a bank account if you do not have one yet. Through your bank account, you can safely receive money from your employer or customers. You also need a bank account to take out health insurance. To open a bank account, you need a registration address and BSN number. You can open your account at a Dutch banks or an online bank, such as Bunq. An online bank can be a solution if you do not yet have a registration address in the Netherlands.

Where can you work?

In the Netherlands, there are several workplace options for sex workers. You can work at home, behind the window, in clubs and private houses, as an escort and on the street (streetwalking zones). It’s your choice based on what’s possible.

In Amsterdam you can choose between window prostitution, independent escort, work at an escort company or work in a club or private house.

Where you work often determines which employment contract you enter into. This can be work as a self-employed person, but also in employment or via the opting-in arrangement.

Working from home

In general, if you work from home, you receive the customer in your own home. However, most municipalities prohibit sex work from one’s own home. Check with the municipality where you live whether home reception is allowed. In the municipality of Amsterdam, you are not allowed to operate as a sex worker from home.

With window prostitution, specific window operators will allow you to rent a window (at a specific location) and a workspace for a certain time period. Most window-prostitutes are independent: You recruit your customers yourself and set your own prices and services you provide.

A window prostitute rents through their own KvK, as a self-employed person without employees. You can choose when you want to operate and which operator you would prefer to rent from. The window operator must have an operating license for a prostitution business. Window operators must disclose clear rental conditions, which must include what their arrangements are for cancellation, vacation and illness.

Before you officially own your own business, you need to do a few things. You must register with the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) and register as an entrepreneur with the tax authorities.

You must also keep track of your income and expenditure, file a tax return with the tax authorities and pay tax.

Benefits of window sex work

  • You are independent and choose your own working hours. No one has authority over you..
  • You have direct contact with your customers. You decide for yourself if you consent or refuse the customer.
  • It’s pretty safe. Many designated window areas have street cameras and many rooms have alarm buttons.

Disadvantages of window sex work

  • You are visible to everyone, including family, friends and acquaintances.
  • Sometimes the window areas can be very busy. Many tourists come just to watch. You have to be able to handle that.
  • You must file income tax yourself.

The Netherlands has several clubs with a permit. In a club, customers are received at the bar. Sometimes the customer just wants a chat, and other times, you might accompany him to a booked room.

In the clubs, operators can choose to employ a sex worker or have them work via opting-in. The operator must have an operating license for a prostitution business or escort business. Club operators often opt for the opt-in scheme. This is a ‘fiscal employment’ which makes it easier for operators and sex workers. The Tax and Customs Administration allows this. You work for the operator as a self-employed person, but the operator arranges the tax payment.

Benefits of working in a club

  • In a club, a customer pays for the time with you in the room, and often extra for sexual services. The longer your customer stays in the room, the more you earn.
  • The GGD Amsterdam regularly visits to see if your workplace is clean and safe.
  • A club can provide you with a safe environment because you work with colleagues and the chances are slim that you encounter friends, family or acquaintances.
  • The operator files income tax on your behalf, which means you do not have to allocate part of your earnings yourself.

Disadvantages of working in a club

  • Alcohol is normally sold in a club. While you receive a percentage of the alcohol sale, keep in mind that many customers will ask you to share a drink with them. You need to be aware of your own limits and be able to handle alcohol and the inebriated client.
  • Some customers may want to have long conversations with you and you need to be prepared for this.
Privehuis (licensed brothel)

The Netherlands has several privehuis with a permit. A privehuis is a kind of club normally in a discreet location that looks like a home. In the living room, there are a small number of sex workers waiting for customers. Customers do not lounge in the living room, so while waiting you are free to do what you wish. When a customer arrives, the sex workers present themselves one by one. The customer makes a choice and goes to a room with one of the sex workers.

In the privehuis, proprietors can choose to employ a sex worker or have them work via opting-in. The operator must have an operating license for a prostitution business or escort business. Operators of privehuizen often opt for the opt-in scheme. This is a ‘fiscal employment’ that makes it easier for operators and sex workers. The Tax and Customs Administration allows this. You work for the operator as a self-employed person, but the operator arranges the tax payment.

Benefits of working in a privehuis

  • You do not have to entertain the customer before moving to a private room (unlike at a club).
  • You do not have to drink alcohol with your customer.

Disadvantages of working in a privehuis

  • The prices are slightly lower than at a club.
As an escort you do not work at a fixed location. You can work as an escort in three ways:

  1. You can work independently as an escort. You will need a permit for this, but it allows you to work almost anywhere in the Netherlands. Make sure you check this with your municipality, otherwise you can get into run into operating issues.
  2. You can work through an escort agency.
  3. You can work in a club that also has an escort license.

Please note: An independent escort is also a self-employed person. As an independent escort, it is your responsibility to arrange the following:

  • advertising,
  • contacts,
  • appointments,
  • transportation to go and return from the customer’s home or hotel room (the customer must have booked the room himself),
  • your own finances.

If you do all the above by yourself, you do not need an operating license for an escort company or prostitution company. However, if someone else helps you with these things, it counts as an escort agency and a permit is required.

Tax must be paid on your income.

Benefits of working as an escort

  • It’s varied.
  • Locations are different every day.
  • Customers’ wishes can vary in terms of time: ranging from an hour to days.

Disadvantages of working as an escort

  • You are expected to be pleasant company for your client at all times.
  • You alone are responsibility for your own safety. There are no colleagues nearby.
Streetwalking zone
With this form of sex work you seek out the customer on the street. In the Netherlands, working on the street is prohibited, unless you do so in special streetwalking zones, set specifically by the municipality. Usually, it is a very defined area where customers drive through in cars. The norm is that your work is performed in the customer’s car. There are some streetwalking zones in Nijmegen and Arnhem.

You have to pay tax on your income from streetwalking.

Benefits of streetwalking

  • You decide your own working hours.
  • Working on the street doesn’t cost any money; for example, rent.
  • At a streetwalking zone, there is surveillance and a living room.

Disadvantages of working as an escort

  • Your earnings are often lower than at other workplaces.
  • As a streetwalker, you will need to have a permit. Sometimes there is a waiting period for this.
  • You have to take care of your own tax affairs.

Related topics

Health & Sex

Your (sexual) health is important. Especially if you are a sex worker. It is important to be vaccinated and protected against hepatitis B.


Perhaps you have experienced something bad, in your private life or at home. It could have been a recent event or even some time ago. Has a client crossed your boundaries?


It can be difficult to deal with less or little money. This can potentially lead to debt or other money problems.