In 1927, gay Amsterdam got its first bar, with the opening of Café ‘t Mandje at Zeedijk 63. Not only the first gay bar in Amsterdam, Café ‘t Mandje is often considered to be one of the first openly gay bars in the world. Since then many more have followed, with the real influx of gay bars and hotels happening from 1955 onwards. In 1946, the first organisation for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders in the world – the COC – was founded in the Netherlands.
Gay Rights in Amsterdam Same-sex marriages are a basic right afforded to gays and lesbians since 2001, the Netherlands being the first country to institute this. As a result, many gay couples have chosen Amsterdam as their home for the benefits that cities in other countries are sorely lacking. The biggest event in gay Amsterdam’s calendar is, of course, the Gay Pride celebrations. On the first weekend of August, Amsterdam becomes a lot more glamorous as the city’s gay population takes to the streets to party and watch the unique floating parade that winds its way through Amsterdam’s iconic canals. The fun doesn’t stop after the parade however, outdoor street parties and gay dance parties in the clubs mean those feeling the swell of Pride can party all night.
Venues and clubs change from year to year but are mostly in the heart of gay Amsterdam, based around Kerkstraat and Warmoesstraat. Check out the official Amsterdam Gay Pride website at www. Saturday of June, each year in a different Dutch city. Amsterdam Gay Clubs While gay visitors to Amsterdam don’t need to limit their visit to establishments flying the rainbow flag in order to receive a warm welcome, there are a number of popular spots in the gay Amsterdam scene that deserve a special mention.
One of Amsterdam’s most famous gay bars, Cockring, located at Warmoesstraat 96 on the edge of the infamous Red Light District, offers live strip and sex shows Thursday to Sunday. Don’t be daunted by the fact that it’s located in a leather part of town: Cockring is a place for all of gay Amsterdam and no particular dress code applies. Café ‘t Mandje and Saarein, mentioned above, are two popular places with a lot of history between them, open and welcoming to gay guys and girls of all walks of life. Less of a club scene than Cockring, these bars offer more of a chance to chat over drinks or food in slightly more traditional ‘brown café style’ surroundings. Other places to look out for are Prik, offering drinks, dancing and “sexy snacks” at Spuistraat 109, Café Wilsons at Gedempte Raamgracht 78 and rocking cruise bar De Spijker at Kerkstraat 4.
Amsterdam also has a few gay saunas. Gay Hotels in Amsterdam Hotels abound in gay Amsterdam, whether you’re looking for an exclusive gay hotel with the right crowd and extra features, or simply a quality, gay friendly 4 star deluxe. Within the canal ring of Amsterdam’s centre, literally dozens of hotels can be found, while outer Amsterdam offers its own choice of places to stay a bit further from the hustle and bustle. The Golden Bear is Amsterdams first exclusive gay hotel, opening its doors as early as 1948.
It still remains a staple in the city’s gay scene and offers a great place to stay on Kerstraat 37, right in the heart of gay Amsterdam. Other hotels to keep an eye out for are the leather district’s exclusively male hotel the Black Tulip at Geldersekade 16, the luxurious Amistad Hotel and Apartments at Kerkstraat 42 and Lilliannes Home, a lesbian hotel found a bit further from the city centre at Sarphatistraat 119, near the zoo. Here’s our main page about gay hotels in Amsterdam. It’s an official, government-sponsored tourist office.