Famous Madam Xaviera Hollander @ Le Petit Festival

Xaviera Hollander, a former elite prostitute and madam originally from Holland who operated in the US during the 70’s and 80’s has arrived in Dubrovnik to take part in the Le Petit Festival. Hollander’s clients included the rich and famous, with Hollander once referencing American President John Kennedy during her days as a madam.


Hollander was born in 1943 Xaviera de Vries in Soerabaja, in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), to a Dutch Jewish father and a French-German mother. In her early twenties, she left Amsterdam for Johannesburg, South Africa. There she met and became engaged to John Weber, an American economist. When the engagement was broken off, she left South Africa for New York.

In 1968, she left her job as the secretary of the Dutch consulate in Manhattan to become a call girl, where she made $1,000 a night. A year later she opened her own brothel called Xaviera’s Happy House and soon became New York City’s leading madam. In 1971, she got involved in a massive Police Corruption Scandal called the Knapp Commission after she was arrested on several occasions for prostitution by New York police.

In 1971 Hollander published her memoir, The Happy Hooker: My Own Story. The book was notable for its frankness by the standards of the time, and is considered a landmark of positive writing about sex. Hollander details in the book her life as a liberal and open-minded girl. She states that during the start of her career she did not ask for cash in exchange for sex, but her partners voluntarily gave her money and other presents. Shortly after the book had come out and became an instant bestseller Xaviera was forced to leave the U.S, not until she had done a nationwide book promotion tour.

Xaviera will be appearing at the festival at Lazareti tonight at 9 30 pm where she will present and sign her new book ‘Guide to Sex’. A one act play, ‘Stripped’, by Hannah Ruth Chalmers will follow the book signing.

For the full festival program visit the website here.