LGBTQ+ Guide to Amsterdam

Insider tips for Amsterdam

Maartje Hensen (she/they) a Dutch queer traveller, photographer and author of The Pride Atlas. She founded the leading queer travel and lifestyle brand, Once Upon a Journey, with the love of her life, Roxanne Weijer (she/her).

Amsterdam is a city you must visit at least once in your life. And after visiting, you probably want to return many times.

The city has everything from fun nightlife, rich history, beautiful gingerbread houses, stunning canals, and countless bicycles.

But most importantly, the capital city of The Netherlands is an iconic and welcoming LGBTQ+ destination. You can truly be yourselves in Amsterdam and enjoy everything the city has to offer.

I’m a queer woman who fell in love with Amsterdam when I moved there a decade ago. Amsterdam will always have a special place in my heart because I found the love of my life there.

In this article, I will tell you all about the top LGBTQ+ places to visit in Amsterdam. From the best bars, events, and Amsterdam’s gay street to where to stay and the best insider tips! Enjoy this fabulous city.

Amsterdam’s gay area

The epicenter of the gay area of Amsterdam is the Reguliersdwarsstraat. Yes, I know, that might be the most difficult gay street in the world to pronounce, but I dare you to try it anyway!

At the Reguliersdwarsstraat, you can find many clubs, bars, and restaurants for and by the community. Especially during the weekend and during significant events like Pride, it gets busy here, but Amsterdam’s gay street is fun every day of the week!

If you want to dance, I recommend visiting Club NYX, which welcomes the entire community. Next door, you can find the unpretentious and fun Exit Café.

Are you hungry after all the dancing? Head to the Vegan Junk Food Bar for the best vegan junk food in the city.

Another important spot in the city for the community is the Homomonument. The Homomonument is a memorial dedicated to gay people who were persecuted in WWII. It is also the place where LGBTQ+ street parties happen during Pride, King’s Day, and Liberation Day.

The Pink Point, located next to the monument, is Amsterdam’s official LGBTQ+ information kiosk.

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, in 2001

Gay bars in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, you can show your true colors! Therefore, you can head to any bar or club in Amsterdam for a drink and some dancing. However, there are many places specifically for the community too. Places that are important to keep supporting; otherwise, they might disappear.

Lesbian bars, in particular, are disappearing worldwide, which is incredibly sad, as we need those safe places! A few years ago, the iconic Amsterdam lesbian bar Vivelavie closed its doors, but luckily, we got a fantastic new lesbian bar back: Bar Buka.

Café ‘t Mandje and Saarein started as lesbian bars in Amsterdam and now welcome the entire community. Bar Buka lies in the De Pijp neighborhood and is a fun place that brings queer women together. And while Bar Buka attracts the younger crowds, Café ‘t Mandje and Saarein are typical ‘brown style Amsterdam’ cafes, attracting older queer folks too.

Café ‘t Mandje is the oldest gay bar in Amsterdam. The queer, intersectional bars Pamela and Bar Bario are amongst Amsterdam’s newer LGBTQ+ hotspots. Just up the street from Bar Bario, you can find Amsterdam’s only queer barbershop Kindred Kuts, which is also Black-owned.

Head to Café Lellebel and Café the Queen’s Head for fantastic drag shows. And for a cocktail, you go to Prik! De Trut is a queer disco that’s only open on Sunday evenings. At De Trut, you can’t use your phone, ensuring privacy and safety for all visitors.

Places specifically for gay men are Spijker Bar, Club Church, Eagle, and Cuckoo’s Nest. The gay sauna in Amsterdam is called Sauna Nieuwezijds.

In Amsterdam, winter makes the cobblestoned streets and canals extra romantic, while summers are all about enjoying the sun, parks and terraces.

Make sure to return because the city has a different vibe every season.

LGBTQ+ activities and events

Amsterdam has many gay events and activities worth visiting throughout the year. The following events are unmissable:

  • Milkshake Festival is an annual queer weekend festival in July and is a must for festival lovers. With a clear message of freedom, love, tolerance, and respect, everyone can be who they want to be at the festival.
  • Amsterdam Pride is a week full of parties, events, parades, exhibitions and enriching talks, starting the last weekend of July with the Pride Walk and ending with the canal parade during the first weekend of August.
  • The Roze Filmdagen is the most prominent LGBTQ+ film festival in the Netherlands. Happening every year in March, it’s the perfect moment to sit down and enjoy some LGBTQ+ movies and short films.
  • TranScreen is Amsterdam’s annual transgender film festival, with a multi-day film program about gender diversity complemented by year-round events.
  • An LGBTQ+ History Tour is the best way to learn about Amsterdam and its rich LGBTQ+ history. I recommend taking the LGBTQ+ History Tour by Henk de Vries or Sanne Pols’ LGBTour Amsterdam.
  • Janey is a party for “girls who love girls who love girls!” They organise multiple events throughout the year for queer women at different venues in Amsterdam.
  • FunHouse is a monthly dance party for gay men held at the Westergas area in Westerpark. It’s a party by the same organisers of Rapido, the gay circuit party in Amsterdam.
  • Roze Zaterdag is the Dutch version of the original Pride protest march following the Stonewall Riots in New York City. It’s held in a different city in the Netherlands every year on the last Saturday of June.
  • Bear Necessity is Amsterdam’s gay party for bears and their admirers and friends. The party happens several times a year at Club Panama.

The best LGBTQ+ friendly hotels

Amsterdam has excellent hotels for your stay. Booking accommodation as a gay traveler shouldn’t be a problem at any hotel, though some hotels are extra LGBTQ+ friendly.

Just a 10-minute walk to the Reguliersdwarsstraat, the Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam offers five-star luxury in a fabulous building. It is the best place to stay if you want to splurge and enjoy your gay Amsterdam trip.

Even closer to Amsterdam’s gay street, you can find the hip and trendy Albus Design Boutique Hotel Amsterdam. Roll from Amsterdam’s gay bars into your design room to relax afterward!

Two final recommendations for gay-friendly hotels in Amsterdam are Room Mate Aitana and Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam. Both are located nearby the central station and have beautiful rooms.

Enjoy everything gay Amsterdam has to offer!

But most importantly, I hope you fall in love with the city as I did.

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