In a dark brothel in The Hague.


On his way to Amsterdam, our journalist became interested by the Hague, located on the North sea coast, in the west part of Netherlands, and its brothels.

The Hague is a fairly wealthy city in which numerous diplomats live. It is there, remarkably, that the international court is situated. In this city, the Weed is organic. People move around by tram and so much money flows that you can buy a gram of coke for 30 bucks. Since 2000, prostitution had been legal in the Netherlands. My Canadian friend, Scott, who has been living there for 14 years sees it as a logical course of action. He says: « Dutch people have the most practical minds in the whole of Europe ». They like money, stuffed pastries, and established rules.

While I’m toking on a « Thaï joint » (a ready-made spliff that would be the equivalent of cider for an alcoholic), I get a call form our Canadian editor : « Mike, it would be great if you visited a brothel for our readers ». Still with a joint in my mouth and sunglasses on, I went straight to the red light district. Although there are no brothels there, it is the most known prostitution-related area. The showcases are filled with women bathed in a red light, and are quite intimidating. In contrast to Amsterdam, the street is calm. There are no tourists around to take selfies. The men passing by keep their eyes low and go quietly to the woman of their choice.

After a day researching over the internet, I learn that brothels in the Hague are all very different. Their price is ranged from 80 euros to nearly 300 for half an hour. I choose « Diane’s Secret » because it’s operated by women. Part of me hopes that the girls there are taken better care of than in the red light district. I arrive to the address that was indicated on the website. One would never guess that it’s a brothel. It is an elegant dutch house covered with ivy. I realized that I’m at the right place because of two bald men (maybe from excess testosterone) who are speaking in english about their experience :

« – She’s really hot, Alex.
– Yeah, but her blowjobs aren’t as good as Julia’s »

On the balcony, two women are smoking a cigar and summon me. I explain that I’m looking for Diane’s secret. They let me in.

A good-looking brunette wearing a skinny mini-dress helps me to the first floor. I end up in an haussmanian lounge styled in a bourgeois way.
The Madame is behind a leather Chesterfield type desk, she is blond and is quite curvy. Her 30 year old assistant (who helped me in) has glasses on and I can’t figure out if she’s wearing those to look like a sexy secretary or if they were prescription. On the boss’ desk, there is a sign indicating that they take VISAs and Mastercards. A girl comes back from her shift and they seem to discuss her rendez-vous, reporting how it went (the brothel being run by women, the Madame is likely to be a former prostitute).

On the low table in front of me, there is a bowl full of vagina shaped candies and steamy card decks.
On the right, there is a giant screen playing hardcore porn, showing only penetration close-ups. Even though I am a porn enthusiast, it is a little bit too hardcore for my tastes. There are two other guys around the table : a guy who looks like he’s from a PNL video clip [a french rap group] (polarized glasses included), a guy noticeably high and myself. The secretary comes to get our drink orders and without thinking, I ask for a Fanta. I feel like I need sugar after the Skunk joint I smoked earlier. I decide to chat with the guy who’s high given that we obviously have something in common :

« – Do you often come to such places ?
– As often as I have cash » he answers salaciously.
The Madame’s disapproving look makes me think that now is not the time for talking – it’s time for choosing. I take a piece of paper and write my WhatsApp number on it in order to chat with the stoner later. The guy with the polarized glasses goes with a small asian girl half his height. As if he

was at the hairdresser, he insists on having his favorite, even if that means she has to come straight from her previous client.
The Madame claps hers hands and three young women come in. The first is tall with large boobs and blue eyes. The second is mixed race with pear shaped boobs and green eyes. The third is a small indian girl with strong features, but a teenager’s body.

I choose Sandy, she says hi with a small voice and a shy smile. I can relate to her discomfort. According to her page on the website, she is 27yo, but in reality she is clearly over 30. I’m paying 80 bucks for thirty minutes, but I’ll be granted with fifty « to make me comfortable », because I’m a first-timer. On the walls, a fuschia wallpaper matches the cheap perfume and the lube smells. She asks if it’s my first time and I tell her that it is, but that I’m working on a article and I’m not here to fuck. Her surprise is tangible. She explains that it is forbidden to film. I ask her if she would be okay with us just talking. She agrees, as long as I don’t tell the boss.

Sandy « not her real name » has been living in the Netherlands since the age of 5 and has been working as a prostitute for 4 years. Living costs are very high in this diplomatic city. She tried to find something else, but because she isn’t educated enough, she could only get cashier jobs. « I have a child » she confesses after I make up a family back in France to make her feel comfortable. Her child is the main reason why she came back at Diane’s secret after two months of actively seeking employment. The dutch law is very clear: an unemployed foreigner must leave within 3 months.

She pays rent to the brothel, then it doesn’t matter if she gets 15 or only 2 clients at the end of the month, the bill always comes. However, she adds that she feels way more secure now than she felt back when she worked in one of Amsterdam’s windows.
Most prostitutes there have pimps who, whether their business is legit or not, are no angels. She tells me an episode about a Turkish army pounding the glass doors after a night spent getting high on hash. I can hear the fear in Sandy’s voice when she speaks about it.

There is a small courtyard, I take a ready-made joint out of my pocket and start lighting it while pursuing the conversation. She whispers: « if you want to keep chatting, do not leave the door open ». Sandy seems way too soft for this environment, and I struggle to keep my composure while she asks frequently « if I don’t want to go for it anyway ».

Sandy doesn’t smoke, but she takes CBD capsules to « chill out ». She doesn’t mind about cannabis being smoked around her, but I understand through her words that she needs to stay clean in order to « play her part ». Long story short, if she’s not sober she can’t « act ». There’s 5 minutes left. I finally ask her if she has a lot of married men coming to see her. She smiles and tell me that « adultery is way less commonly accepted here than in France, so the standard is to take off one’s wedding ring ».

I end the session by asking her if she often has stoners amongst her clients. Sandy’s face lights up slightly : « they are often the nicest clients ». My time is up, I cruise back to the boss’ office to ask for a bill before I leave. Then I meet the stoner from earlier at the Cremers which is the only bar in The Hague where smoking is allowed. I ask him if he’s used going to brothels. He takes a huge toke on a pure Jack Herrer blunt before handing it to me and saying : « every single week, I have my favorite. I even give her a facial ». I ask him what it means, and he translates : « I get to come on her face ». Thus, the holly Grail seems to be coming on girl’s faces.

To him, it was obvious because he spends his days between work and Coffeeshop, smoking. He hasn’t had a girlfriend for 5 years. I end up thinking again about what my friend Scott told me : « It is only a transaction. Yet another service industry ».