Prostitution, criminal law and morality in the Netherlands

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In 1911 a new public morality act was enacted in the Netherlands. Article 250bis of the penal code states that it is forbidden to give opportunity for prostitution. This so called article on brothelkeeping was the result of growing pressure of a coalition between christian puritans, socialists and feminists at the end of the nineteenth century. In the nineteeneighties the government has proposed to scratch this general prohibition of brothelkeeping. This proposal results from another coalition, this time between feminists and bureaucratic powers. This change in the public debate on prostitution, and especially the influence of feminism, is analysed from a moral point of view. The Dutch prostitution issue is seen as a case of postmodern morality, that is to say as a result of bureaucratic needs for regulation and subjective experiences of the persons involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-211
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Prostitution
  • morality
  • Netherlands


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