As an MP, Femke Halsema helped make prostitution legal in the Netherlands. So why does she now want to overhaul an area where sex workers famously ply their trade?

The local football team, Ajax, had just won the championship, and as is traditional, the mayor of Amsterdam expected some abuse at the victory parade. “It is a Dutch tradition – it is usually just screaming and throwing cans of beer,”said Femke Halsema, the first woman to take the highest office in the Dutch capital.

Halsema, 53, a former leader of the national Green party, though, faced a difference grade of barracking: shouts of “bitch” and “whore”, and a wall of middle fingers. “It was a moment when I was confronted by being a woman,” she said, laughing. “I think the last mayor wasn’t called a bitch.”

Related: Boorish sex tourists are ruining Amsterdam. It’s time to ship them out | Senay Boztas

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