Amsterdam is the paradise for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender from all over the world. If there is a place where you can express yourself freely, this is it. The Netherlands has always been a pioneer when it comes to accept and legalise the rights of LGBT visitors and locals, and there is a lot to learn about it.
Yes, if there is an LGBT friendly city, that is definitely Amsterdam. There is nowhere in the world where so many LGBT friendly attractions are so close together. Besides, the capital of the Netherlands counts with specific areas, information points, restaurants, and night clubs.
The Netherlands was the first country in history to accept and legalize same-sex marriage, they have created information points specific to the LGBT tourists and anyone interested to learn more about all the places, activities and history about the developments the Netherlands has overcome during the past few decades. Keep reading for more information and insider advice!
How LGBT friendly is The Netherlands?
Since I moved to the Netherlands I have been told repeatedly that Dutch are very tolerant people. This means that what other cultures would find annoying or even forbidden, Dutch tend to consider possible and acceptable. There is no other part of the world where LGBTI+ visitors are going to be more welcome than in the Netherlands.
It is true that small towns around the country have their own mentality and they might be a little bit more reticent when it comes to open-mindedness, but big cities like Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam are proud of their LGBT locals and visitors and have been showing it since early in the days: the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, Pride Amsterdam is one of the most renowned Pride celebrations around the world, there are hundreds of rainbow flags all over the city and Amsterdamers have created the Pink Point, an information kiosk where visitors can get maps, advice, information about restaurants and clubs exclusive for the LGBTIQ+ community.
Amsterdam is one of the cities of the world that has produced the biggest amount of symbols, art and actual facts that have helped shape the LGBTIQ+ community fo the world.
Gay Marriage Goes Dutch! Since the 1st of April 2001 same-sex marriage has been legal in the Netherlands, increasing the number of gay couples who decide to give this big step.
The former mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, wed the first four couples of the Netherlands’ gay community at midnight, making a statement of the beginning of a new kind of freedom and a more rightful society. Since then, over 15,000 gay couples have married.
Since then the Netherlands has shown the world how progressive they are. It is an actual statement of how LGBT friendly this country is, since not only their laws are updated, but also their way of living in the city, including a lot of places for this community to express themselves, such as bars and night clubs.
This is another great example of how LGBT friendly Amsterdam is. One of the biggest Pride Parades takes place in the months of July and August every year. The participants are elected during the first months of the year, and they have six months to prepare the most amazing programme. Every year 80 boats prepare their theme, costumes and music to surprise the crowds of Amsterdam.
In 2020 Amsterdam Pride Parade will take place between the 27th of July and the 4th of August for 9 years of pride. The theme of next year is still pendant to be confirmed (here).
Being Amsterdam the famous city it is because of its canals, it couldn’t be any other way but a Canal Parade all over the city. Pride Amsterdam has its own website where you can be updated of all the events and important information relevant to this amazing week.
Pride Amsterdam started out as a party that gay entrepreneurs would use to promote Amsterdam as a gay city and to celebrate the freedom and diversity of our city: it has now grown into a festival that expresses the diversity of the LGBTI community with different events including debates, art, theatre, film, (dance) parties and even sports. It is open for everybody who wants to join and enjoy the party.
It is also important to know that a few things about Pride Parade Amsterdam:
- Meaning: It is indeed a party, but besides being a moment to have a lot of fun, it is also a moment to learn and get to know new experiences and new realities that may or may not be what we are used to. It is not a commemoration of events such as Pink Saturday Pride Amsterdam, but a celebration.
- Something for Everbody: Not only the people on the boat are going to be wearing all different kinds of outfits with glitter, feathers, wigs, and cool accessories to show off their differences and personal Pride. Also, the people on the shore, tourists and locals, will come to join the party in the most incredible outfits to watch the Canal Parade and show who they are.
- Parade and Parties: The LBGTQI+ community organises a lot of parties, so it won’t only be the parade but a lot of other activities (street parties, as well as many other events). Vondelpark holds activities every day of the Pride and there are activities for all types of audiences to enjoy.
- Accommodation: It is one of the most important events that take place in the city of Amsterdam, with other 1 million people visiting the city that week. Looking for accommodation in time if you are willing to go its key to enjoy your time without worrying. Amsterdam is also a very expensive city and the crowder it gets the more expensive hotels and any accommodation will be. Here you can find my favorite hotels in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Rainbow Dress
If we are going to talk about Amsterdam being LGBT friendly, it is a must mentioning the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress. It is a dress created by 75 flags representing the countries where homosexuality is punishable by law, who wanted to raise attention to the issue of illegal homosexuality. This piece of art is a symbol created by Dutch artists after the flags were exhibited in the COC Amsterdam.
COC Amsterdam also happens to be the oldest active LGBT-organisation in the world. Arnout van Krimpen, Jochem Kaan, Mattijs van Bergen and Oeri van Woezik came together to make this idea come true, developing the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress.
Pink Point Amsterdam
If you belong to the LGBTIQ+ community (or you are just curious about it), Amsterdam has an information point specifically oriented to give information about LGBT related topics: from where to eat and affiliated restaurants, to where to party and historical facts about the city.
Pink Point Amsterdam has been open for over 20 years. It is located in Westermarkt, right next to the Homomonument, in the Jordaan. This information point opens every day, from 10.00 – 18.00 on Mondays and Saturdays from and 12.00 – 18.00 Sundays. If you want to know more, you can also check their website here.
Gay and Lesbian Places in Amsterdam
Even though the whole city can be defined as LGBTIQ+ friendly, Amsterdam also has a more risqué series of restaurants, bar and night clubs in certain areas. If you are interested in finding any of them, you can go to the Warmoesstraat and Zeedijk in the Red Light District. There are also many establishments along the Reguliersdwarsstraat (for more touristic places), Amstel (for more Dutch gay bars), and Kerkstraat (for cruise bars and newer experiences).
Travel Gay (here) and Tripadvisor users point out these are the best places to check out for gay tourists:
- SoHo (Reguliersdwarsstraat 36, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1017) for clubbing and partying.
- FAME (Amstel 50, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1017) with karaoke, go-go dancers, and cabaret shows.
- Café Montmartre (Halve Maansteeg 17, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1017) for a very Dutch atmosphere.
- Exit Cafe (Reguliersdwarsstraat 42A, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1017) for house music and dancing.
On the other hand, other Amsterdam informative websites (for example, here) talk about these lesbian bars:
- Bar Buka (Albert Cuypstraat 124) for a relaxing atmosphere and some drinks.
- Saarein (Elandsstraat 119-HS) for a cosy evening.
- Cafe ‘t Mandje (Zeedijk 63) for a traditional brown café interior.
To Sum Up
After reading this article you can conclude that if there is an LGBT-friendly city, that is Amsterdam. Therefore, it is important to know that hotels and other places are never an issue for anyone, no matter what your sexual orientation or marital status is. Unlike other cities, gay couples are more than welcome to share hotel rooms, express their love in public and enter any place they want, and it is so that there are also cool places for locals and tourists to enjoy the freedom. Amsterdam Pride Parade and most of the LBGT events that take place in the capital of the Netherlands, are like no other event in the world.