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Gay Amsterdam

Gay Amsterdam

A guide to Gay Amsterdam

Gay Amsterdam Guide


Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most beautiful and romantic cities - and 'Gay Amsterdam' is one of Europe's biggest gay centres. Built on the proceeds of trade and finance, Amsterdam is both a royal capital and a testament to the style and affluence of its merchants who, in the 17th century, made Amsterdam the wealthiest city in the world. It's still one of the world's most wealthy and cosmopolitain cities, and Gay Amsterdam can claim to be one of Europe's big 5 gay cities - along with London, Barcelona, Madrid and Paris.


Breaking free from Spanish rule, the newly-formed Dutch Republic was a beacon of religious, economic and intellectual tolerance. (Such tolerance has continued to this day - when it comes to being gay Amsterdam is probably Europe's most liberal city.) Amsterdam's merchant ships sailed the world, its financiers established the first stock exchange, and its builders created a stunning network of canals, bridges and houses that today makes it such a unique city. In 2010 Amsterdam’s canal belt became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Amsterdam is now the seat of the royal family, although not of government which presides in The Hague, with the resultant royal palaces and state buildings adding to the architectural and cultural mix.


If it is your first trip to Europe, make sure to include Gay Amsterdam on your itinerary. The ‘Venice of the North’ has a character of its own and here you will find something to cater to everyone’s taste – a thriving cultural scene, a rich historic legacy, serious gay partying, charming architecture and friendly people.


Our top sightseeing tips for Amsterdam

  • Rijksmuseum – One of the world’s best museums, with a large collection of Dutch masters, including Rembrandt’s Night Watch – don’t forget to visit its gardens.
  • Anne Frank House – A museum dedicated to the life of the young Jewish girl who kept a diary while hiding from the Nazis during the Second World War -
  • Amsterdam Museum – With the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions giving you a good picture of the history of Amsterdam.
  • The Canal Bus – Take a ride through Amsterdam’s canals to visit many attractions, such as the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House using its hop-on/hop-off service.
  • Red Light District/De Wallen – Located south of Central Station and east of Damrak – refrain from taking photos of prostitutes or you may loose your camera.
  • Amsterdam Tulip Museum.
  • Rent a bicycle – 50% of Amsterdammers use their bikes daily – or tour Amsterdam by bike.
  • Architectour – organised tours showing the best in architecture, housing and urban development – contact
  • Amsterdam’s Flower Market / Bloemenmarkt
  • Coffee shops – Amsterdam is famous also for its cannabis bars



Any self-respecting gay capital needs to offer superb shops - and Gay Amsterdam doesn't disappoint. Nieuwendijk and Haarlemstraat, close to Central Station, offers the finest food stores in town. The Nine Streets, also called De Negen Straatjes, between Leidsegracht and the Raadhuisstraat, crossing the four main canals: Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, are a shopper’s paradise. Alternatively, visit the outdoor markets such as Albert Cuyp Markt, Ten Cate Market, Dappermarkt, and Lindengracht. The gay district in Amsterdam also has some fun gay shops - selling sex toys, clothing, DVDs and books.


Getting Around

Like most European capitals, Amsterdam also offers a mixture of travel and discount cards to tourists, called the I amsterdam Card. Driving in Amsterdam is not recommended mainly because you don’t need to and because parking fees are very high (€5 an hour).  Amsterdam is ideal for walking and cycling both of which allow you to immerse yourself in the unique, watery atmosphere of this beautiful city. We recommend you find a gay hotel close to the centre of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is also ideal to get around by . In addition, the Dutch capital has superb : a metro, a tram , bus and boat services. New is , which is a really cool concept with electric cars. Taxis are plentiful although relatively expensive.


Getting There

Situated just 15 km from the Amsterdam  is Schiphol - one of the world’s busiest airports. It is easily accessed from Amsterdam Central Station (15-20 minutes),  inexpensively by bus, or rather expensively by cab. If you are arriving by train, Amsterdam Central Station is located right in the middle of the city. Cabs, buses and trams are available just outside the station. If you are arriving by Bus, the Amstel Station is well connected by train. For visitors arriving by cruise ships, the port is close to the city centre, with easy access to the city centre by tram and cab. If you’re looking for gay hotels Amsterdam, simply click the 'HOTELS ETC' tab above. You’ll see a list of the best gay and gay-friendly hotels in Gay Amsterdam. Or to search using a map, click here.


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Gay Amsterdam

Europe's Gay playground - Amsterdam


Events in Amsterdam


Amsterdam has a reputation for tolerance, reflected in its lax laws on certain drug use, the sex trade and gay nightlife although in all these areas the excesses have been restrained in recent years. In 2001 the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage. The age of consent is 16, although, curiously, 18 for prostitutes!


In the 1980s Gay Amsterdam was undoubtedly the gay capital of Europe with easy sex and soft drugs being a great draw. Today this status has diminished somewhat as gay scenes in other countries have grown and a slightly more conservative attitude has permeated into the sex and drug industries in Amsterdam.


Nevertheless, Amsterdam is a great place for gay people. Compact, friendly, and mainly English-speaking the city’s mayor has called it “the gay way to Europe”. Gay Amsterdam, with its famous red-light district (prostitution is not a crime), saunas, over 30 gay bars, 3 major nightclubs and some of Europe’s largest weekly and monthly gay parties and plenty of gay hotels Amsterdam has a lot to offer to the gay traveller.


There are a number of gay areas in Amsterdam but all are close to each other. The most well known two gay streets are Regulliersdwarsstraat and the Amstel area with Amsterdam’s main concentration of bars. Warmoesstraat/Zeedijk has a more mature and leather scene, both in the city centre and not too far from each other. The Kerkstraat area is the oldest gay neighbourhood, very friendly and where you will find most of the gay accommodation.


With its 1500 bridges, the city’s canals stage three of the largest and most interesting events. First there is Queen’s Day on 30 April, which sees Amsterdam packed with straights and gays to celebrate the official birthday of the country’s monarchs. Then on the Saturday of the first full weekend in August there is Gay Pride - an amazing event on land and water. And finally October sees Leather Pride. Visiting Amsterdam during these events is highly recommended, as the city shows its most friendly and charming side, welcoming visitors from all over the world.


NEXT: Gay Accommodation in Amsterdam >

Looking for hotels Gay Amsterdam? Being such a gay-friendly place, it’s really not necessary to stay in an exclusively gay hotel in the city. However, there are a few gay-only hotels and guesthouses in the centre of Amsterdam catering to those who feel like hanging out with other gay travellers.


Pretty much all of the other hotels in Amsterdam are gay-friendly and very gay-aware, but we’d recommend staying as centrally as possible to avoid lengthy trips into the city each day. Places to stay currently on the Gay Welcome site are listed to the right. Simply tick or untick the criteria at the top to narrow down your search.


If you'd prefer to see these properties as pins on a map of Gay Amsterdam, use the Gay Welcome interactive map instead of this page. You'll find the two main gay areas of the city are also marked on the map (one is the leather / bear area, the other the main gay area), so you can easily see which hotels and bed and breakfasts are closest to the action in Amsterdam.


NEXT: Top Amsterdam Links >

Links to the best Gay Amsterdam links

So many Gay Amsterdam destination guides attempt to list the top restaurants, bars, shops, events, and websites for a given town - but their suggestions quickly become out of date, because such information is constantly changing. So instead of trying to list our own suggestions, we've listed the best websites or 'apps' for finding out what's hot in Gay Amsterdam. That way, you get the best information possible. Simply click on any of the logos below to visit any of our recommended sites.


Best gay hook-up websites

If you’re looking to meet up with some of Amsterdam’s gay residents, we’d recommend Planet Romeo, the Gay Boys Network,, or of course, the very popular Grindr app.

Planet Romeo

G Boys Network



Best tourist information sites

To find out what to do and see in Amsterdam, the two best websites to visit are Iamsterdam, the Amsterdam Travel Guide and (for the gay angle) Gay Amsterdam.

I amsterdam

Amsterdam Travel GuideGay Amsterdam


Best gay and non-gay events

If you’re looking to see what’s on in Amsterdam, then the Gay Welcome Events in Amsterdam section is a great start. For a much wider range of events – try Gay Amsterdam and Iamsterdam.

Gay WelcomeI amsterdam

Gay Amsterdam


Best gay and non-gay events

The food has improved hugely in Amsterdam, and the city now offers some of the world’s best restaurants. To find out what's best, check out TimeOut Amsterdam or TripAdvisor.


TimeOut Amsterdam


Best shopping websites

Amsterdam is a great city for shopping. To find out what to buy where in the city, try’s Amsterdam Shopping Guide. Another good listing site is the I Amsterdam shopping section.

About.comI amsterdam


Best local gay magazines

The best way to find out what’s on in gay bars, clubs, saunas and shops is to pick up one of the local gay listings magazines found in gay venues. In Amsterdam – look out for the Pink Point Guide and Gay News.

Pink Point AmsterdamGay News Amsterdam


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