What do SUVs and luxury cars have in common?

by Ingrid Robeyns on November 19, 2008

The answer: they are too big for the afwerkplekken that were built around 1986 in Dutch cities such as Utrecht, and so the drivers are having a hard time getting access. Afwerkplekken? You don’t know what that is, and your Dutch-English internet translator doesn’t know how to translate this word?

Afwerkplekken are, as the picture in the newspaper article shows, places where the client of a prostitute can drive to, and have sex with her. Basically it looks like a parking, with walls and with bins. They are provided by the local governments. Literally it means ‘a place to finish the work’.

Sometimes this country really amazes me.

{ 28 comments }

1

Lisa 11.19.08 at 8:40 pm

That shows some foresight…I guess. It seems inadvisable to have a humungous car/SUV in Holland anyway but I suppose it is fortunate that there is this extra disincentive.

“Sometimes this country really amazes me.”

In a good way?

2

Dan Helphrey 11.19.08 at 9:22 pm

Looks like “incentivizing” driving more fuel efficeint cars.

3

peter 11.19.08 at 10:09 pm

I presume (this being The Netherlands) that there are equivalent facilities for clients riding bicycles?

4

burritoboy 11.20.08 at 1:58 am

The owners of luxury cars or large SUVs are regularly so miserly that they’d prefer to have sex in a parking lot versus springing for a hotel/motel room?

5

Tom T. 11.20.08 at 2:11 am

Sex often poses unique challenges to those of us men with large equipment….

6

Helen 11.20.08 at 2:13 am

I thought driving a mighty SUV around in the city was indicative of having, er, smaller equipment.

7

Tom T. 11.20.08 at 2:40 am

Only my afwerkplekken knows for sure.

8

Delicious Pundit 11.20.08 at 3:13 am

Literally it means ‘a place to finish the work’.

1. Home Depot has the same motto, but that’s more for the do-it-yourselfer.

2. Oh, so that’s what the hard hat and toolbelt was for!

3. After I finish the work, I always make sure someone signs for it.

4. If this van’s afwerkplekken, don’t come checkin’.

and

5. I have on occasion suspected my partners of faux-finishing.

9

Zamfir 11.20.08 at 7:58 am

And because this irritates me far more than it should: ‘afwerkplekken’ is the plural of ‘afwerkplek’. So it’s “only my afwerkplek knows”.

I have heard that Italy had similar places, but aimed at unmarried couples that live at home, and are not allowed by their parents to share a room.

10

sg 11.20.08 at 8:57 am

Japan has love hotels. Glorious things! Not only are they sound-proofed and light-proofed, but they come with a spa, all-you-can-watch porn, karaoke machine, playstation, a menu of costumes, a machine dispensing the necessities of afwerkplek, a full menu of food, and a theme in the more expensive ones. You get all this for the cost of a dodgy hotel room in London, and you can pay to sleep the night in them.

11

Ingrid Robeyns 11.20.08 at 11:07 am

Lisa, I actually don’t know whether I feel amazement in a good or bad way — more amazement in the sense of being surprised – wondering whether this is really something the government should be concerened about?. I don’t know precisely why I have this feeling of being surprised, but I guess I think it is odd that the government should go so far in providing services for people to have sex – and in this case sex of a particular type. Ah well, perhaps if I was born and raised here I wouldn’t be amazed. ..

12

Zamfir 11.20.08 at 11:41 am

Ingrid, I think the reason is not to provide a place to have sex, but to prevent people from just parking along the road, which is a serious problem for people living near red-light areas.

If you just increase police control of the area, the problem moves elsewhere. By providing a place to go to (while still putting heavy fines on people heaving sex elsewhere), you can keep the nuisance down and concentrated.

13

Tracy W 11.20.08 at 12:26 pm

Is it true that on the Dutch version of Big Brother, the producers asked the contestants to stop having sex so much because it was boring the viewers?

14

Ginger Yellow 11.20.08 at 1:24 pm

“Japan has love hotels. Glorious things! “

Did you know that at the height of the credit boom there were even securitisations of love hotels?

15

Zamfir 11.20.08 at 4:48 pm

Is it true that on the Dutch version of Big Brother, the producers asked the contestants to stop having sex so much because it was boring the viewers?

No, not as far as know.

16

Mitchell Rowe 11.20.08 at 4:51 pm

I guess in Holland the sign of a faithful man is a big SUV…

17

richard 11.20.08 at 8:02 pm

I’ve been thinking this over, in the light of the ongoing underground war on prostitutes (in the name of saving them) that’s been waged in the UK for as long as anyone cares to remember. These prostitutes are protesting the inadequacy of the facilities set up for them, they’re asking for better healthcare, they’re engaged citizens demanding service from their government. Excellent.

18

PHB 11.20.08 at 9:02 pm

You have to just love how the Car number plate ‘DN1 455’ is fuzzed out so you know that failing to mask the identity of the punter was deliberate and not an accidental oversight.

Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings but is not going to be prosecuted for his criminal actions. That should tell us all we need to know about such laws. Laws that are selectively prosecuted must be abolished, to allow them to survive on the books is corrosive to public order.

The prostitution laws do little to protect the women and do much to cause them harm. Criminalizing prostitution makes the women more vulnerable to exploitation by pimps and corrupt law enforcement. Sex for pay is never going to be a completely safe occupation but the prostitution laws make it much more dangerous for the women. Girls working alone will always be at greater risk than girls working in a legalized brothel with a security staff on tap.

We had this issue in the UK. One of the reasons that Police have changed their enforcement policy in the UK was a series of murders of working girls.

19

Helen 11.20.08 at 10:43 pm

– wondering whether this is really something the government should be concerened about?

It think it’s a marvellous opportunity to force drivers into smaller and more economical vehicles.

20

Helen 11.20.08 at 10:50 pm

…I think. Sorry

21

sorry for this one 11.21.08 at 5:50 am

I think it’s a marvellous opportunity to force drivers into smaller and more economical vehicles.

True, those Magnum-sized condoms are such an obnoxious waste of latex…

22

reason 11.21.08 at 9:20 am

No need to apologise for thinking. Its healthy and natural.-)

23

Praisegod Barebones 11.21.08 at 2:56 pm

‘Laws that are selectively prosecuted must be abolished, to allow them to survive on the books is corrosive to public order.’

Do you feel the same way about plea-bargaining? Or the prosecution of war crimes? (inevitably selective, I reckon)

24

Jacob Christensen 11.21.08 at 3:14 pm

There ought to be a number of articles written about the regulation of prostitution and soft drugs in the NL and other countries from a decision ethical (or whatever it is called) perspective.

Somehow Dutch policies appear to be based on the argument “these phenomena may or may not be desirable in themselves, but as they are unavoidable, we ought to choose the regulation with the highest utility to all parties involved”. (Please note that I’m trying to reconstruct an argument, I am not defending either prostitution or the use of soft drugs)

The contrast could be Sweden where the official attitude to soft drugs and prostitution can be summarised as “these phenomena are bad in principle and should therefore be banned”. Applied Kant, if you like – but then again, Sweden is a veeery Lutheran country, despite secularisation. On the other hand, Systembolaget could be seen as a Swedish (alcoholic) parallel to the afwerkplekken.

But yes, the Dutch are a curious bunch. On the one hand, my impression is that they can be very principled and buttoned-up. On the other hand, they can be amazingly utalitarian.

Denmark? Oh, the country’s largest tabloid makes its living from publishing “massage” adverts…

25

Grand Moff Texan 11.21.08 at 3:40 pm

Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings but is not going to be prosecuted for his criminal actions. That should tell us all we need to know about such laws.

Spitzer was not so targeted until he blew the whistle on the OCC. Then, the charges were dropped as soon as the election was over.

I would not be wearing this tinfoil hat were it not for the fact that the issue in question was such a big part of the polemic of those in charge of the prosecutors.

[takes tinfoil hat off]
.

26

Uncle Jeffy 11.21.08 at 7:24 pm

Damn! The perfect stimulus package for the US! We’ll put a few hundred of these things in every US city of any size – the Federal government can pay for the construction costs, and state/local governments can split the parking fees.

Now, does anyone know where “Focus on the Family” is headquartered?

27

Uncle Jeffy 11.21.08 at 7:30 pm

Damn! The perfect economic stimulus package! Put a few hundred of these in every US city. The Federal government can pay the construction costs and state and local governments can split the parking fees.

Now, does anyone know where “Focus on the Family” is headquartered?

28

Hattie 11.23.08 at 5:59 am

The Dutch are pragmatic. Rational. They understand the nasty side of human nature. But they keep the nastiness in its place. They are very orderly.
Best society in the world.

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