Reguliersdwarsstraat, Amsterdam's "gay street" - ©UCityGuides.com
Amsterdam likes to see itself as the gay capital of Europe -- and it may be right. The Netherlands’ tolerant and liberal attitude is legendary, homosexuality was decriminalised in the country all the way back in 1811, and in 2002 it legalised same-sex marriage. As in other cities, the lesbian scene in the Dutch capital is rather small, but gay visitors of both sexes will find plenty of places to go to (especially in the gayest street of all, Reguliersdwarsstraat), and couples can walk hand-in-hand on their way there without repercussions. And then there’s the Homo-monument, standing as a reminder of persecutions against homosexuals, but also to inspire a more open and tolerant society without discrimination. Amsterdam hosts the world's only gay parade on water, during the Pride festival every August, plus other gay events and parties such as Queensday on April 30th, celebrating the queen's birthday, unity and togetherness. In a city filled with so many gay hotspots, where should you head to first? Here’s your guide:
The world's first "gay monument" - ©UCityGuides.com
Unveiled in 1987, this was the world's first "gay monument." It remembers all the gay men and women who were persecuted by the Nazis and throughout history, and is also meant "to inspire and support lesbians and gays in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination."
Locate it on the map: Homomonument
This restaurant has long been a gay favorite (since 1984), serving European cuisine.
This small bar hosts fun nights of drinking and dancing. Straight girls often mix with the gay guys and gals.
Facebook Page: ExitAmsterdam
Located in the gayest part of town, by Rembrandtplein Square, this bar is all about music and fun, in the form of cabaret shows and karaoke.
Facebook Page: Fame Café
For a good old-fashioned drag show, head to this bar which hosts special events, always with a lively atmosphere.
Canal views, a friendly staff, and a gay crowd is what you'll find at this bar that is one of the most pleasant gay spots in the city.
One of Amsterdam's most popular gay hangouts, this bar attracts all ages and styles, for drinks to the sounds of classic pop and dance tunes.
Meant to be a multiethnic place, this bar is where people of all skin tones and backgrounds get together for a gay night out. Caribbean and latin beats usually make up the soundtrack of the parties.
Facebook Page: Reality Café
In business since 1978, this is a classic gay bar, attracting thirtysomethings who play pool and enjoy drinks by a fireplace. It’s a nice place to chill out with like-minded people.
Located in the city’s “gay street,” this bar has outdoor seating where you can drink and enjoy a quick snack. There’s a daily happy hour and special cocktail nights. Inside, you may catch a drag show.
The Queens Head
Owned by a drag queen, this is one of the city’s oldest gay bars, hosting a variety of events, ranging from a weekly bingo night to special nights for bears and bearded men.
Spread over three floors, this dance club located in the gay street plays different musical styles to a diverse crowd. It’s very straight-friendly, but due to its location, is essentially a gay club.
All of the city's hottest gay parties are organized by Rapido. Check the website to find out where and when you can go to the next ones.
Mixed but mostly gay, Prik often hosts special events, but on any regular night you'll find a casual crowd and an overall friendly atmosphere. Check the website for the upcoming theme nights.
Part British-style pub, part dance club, this is a popular gay venue, with special parties and DJs on weekends.
This is a popular cruising club, with a large bar and a dance floor. Each day has a different theme, from leather to underwear party to shirtless or nude.
The Cuckoo's Nest
Open since 1984, it was originally a leather bar but is now mostly known for its dark room. If you prefer to stay well lit, you may simply head to the bar and enjoy a few drinks.
Open since 2013, this sauna offers massage services, a Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, 8-man jacuzzi, steam room and dark room.
Café ‘t Mandjé
In business since 1927, it was originally owned by a bike-riding lesbian and was the first gay and lesbian bar in the Netherlands (perhaps in the world?). It closed in 1982, but was revived in 2008. Old photos decorate the walls, recalling the history of the place (and of gay Amsterdam).
Lesbians make up the largest number of those sitting at this gay café that also hosts theme nights. It's a good choice for lunch.
Rainbow flags often welcome you to this gay hotel located just steps from the city’s famous flower market. If you’re on a budget, this is your choice, as it’s an excellent value.
Quentin Golden Bear Hotel
Housed in a historic building, this straight-friendly gay hotel is in a central location. There are budget rooms with shared bathrooms, and standard double or twin rooms with private bathrooms.
Hotel Roemer Amsterdam
This art-filled hotel attracts gay couples for its intimate atmosphere and cozy cocktail lounge. It’s the result of the renovation of two historic 18th-century mansions, located close to most of the city’s top sights.
Facing one of the main canals, this gay-friendly hotel offers basic accommodation in a prime location. It’s just a 5-minute walk from “gay street” Reguliersdwarsstraat.
NL Hotel District Leidseplein
Located close to the main nightlife quarter, this 3-star hotel features different types of rooms with contemporary design. Some of the double rooms have a canal view.
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