Gay Guide to AMSTERDAM

If there were ever a city designed for the perfect gay vacation, its Amsterdam. Celebrated for its small city charms amidst a cosmopolitan pulse, the city is enjoying a renaissance. Once famous for its legal red-light district and “coffeeshops,”, Amsterdam redefined itself a destination open to change without forgetting what made it one of Europe´s top gay destinations.

Amsterdam Gay Guide

Amsterdam, gay friendly and easy to get around, just grab a bike, or a barge!

Amsterdam Club Scene

Amsterdam has distinct gay neighborhoods, each offering something a little different.

Our Insiders Guide to Gay Amsterdam

Charming Amsterdam is a compact city, laid out along radiating canals (grachts) alternating with streets (straats), that were built during the 17th century, and very easy to explore by foot.

The city’s iconic canals (165 in total) were constructed to form a series of concentric semicircles which radiate out from the central old town, traversed by bridges (1,281 to be precise) and lined with similar 17th century gabled residences.

With the heart and soul of a village, Amsterdam is a city of well-defined neighborhoods, each one possessing its own distinct character. Wander like a flaneur and soak up Amsterdam’s pleasures.

Amsterdam is one of the smaller European capitals in size, but one of the continent’s most favorite gay hotspots. Its proximity to London and Paris makes it an ideal city to include in your European travel itinerary. Just hop on a high-speed train and you will be in Paris and London in just a few hours. The busy Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is a major gateway for many U.S. airlines, which makes it a great city to start your European adventure.

The city’s centre and old town is bounded by the most centrally located canal, the Singel. Located inside this is the red-light district around the Oude Kerk (Old Church), the Nes Theatre street, a maze of charming old fashioned streets and quiet canals, and the Royal Palace on Dam Square.

Also inside the Singel canal are the pedestrian shopping streets of Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat, which run north and south from the Dam and the central train station.

Outside of the old centre there are three more circular canals, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. These are excellent to walk with the Herengracht being the grandest, especially along the Golden Crescent. It’s also useful to note when negotiating the city that these canals radiate out in alphabetical order, so it’s never difficult to work out where you are!

The main train station, Centraal, is at the top of it all. Cars have a hard time fitting through the narrow streets, but bicycle taxis like Wielertaxi  can zip around efficiently.  You can also rent bikes from Black Bikes, Bike City or Star Bikes. The local tram service is also popular.

  • Getting Around!

    Public trams and trains are frequent and convenient. They don’t run all night, but few nightspots will be far from your hotel room.

    For a carefree day out roaming from one  Amsterdam neighborhood to another, the  GVB day ticket is the most convenient and  economical choice. This ticket provides you  24 hours of unlimited carefree travel on all  GVB trams, buses and metros throughout all  of Amsterdam. The 24 hours starts the moment you first check in. You can then transfer and check in and out as often as you want

Amsterdam Gay Districts.

How Gay Is Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is progressive, tolerant and particularly welcoming to gays and lesbians, who will find affirmation everywhere, from the pink granite triangles of the Homomonument (HomoMonument.com) to the gay-specific tourist information booth, the Pink Point.

Homosexuality has been legal here since 1971. Adoption for gay couples is also legal, the age of consent is 16 for everyone (gay and straight) and same-sex relationships have had the same status as heterosexual ones since 2001. Now how’s that for progressive? People here don’t look kindly on an institution, whether it’s a political party or a religious denomination, telling people what they can’t do.; in fact, one local park, De Oeverlanden, actually has signs pointing to the cruisiest section. Then there’s naked swimming at Marnixbad and Club Church’s weekly underwear party.

Amsterdam Pride is justifiably beloved for its riotous Canal Parade and Closing Ceremony party on Rembrandtplein (as well as more than 300 events throughout the city)—but equally fabulous is the cross-dressing medieval modern holiday known as Hartjesdagen where a carnival atmosphere prevails.

King’s Day, the commemoration of Dutch King Willem-Alexander’s birthday, an occasion for the whole country to party, April 26th. On Koninginnenacht, the night before, the streets surge with celebrants, dressed in orange, and full of national pride and high spirits; and of course the bars are packed and circuit parties throb.

Each spring brings Pink Film Days, the largest LGBTQ film festival in the Netherlands with 11 days of screenings and parties.

  • Fancy A Swim?

    The Marnixbad pools contain much less chlorine than most – which is good news since you’ll be exposing your sensitive bits. Every Tue, Marnixbad, 21:15, various prices.

  • A little more hardcore?

    Horsemen & Knights’ offers monthly sex parties, where you can pair up with your ideal type!  They take measurements here, so if you like them big, this party will keep you happy!

Where to stay in AMSTERDAM? TOP TRENDING HOTELS.

Ever since John and Yoko’s “Bed-In” at the Hilton Amsterdam in 1969, Amsterdam’s hotels have exuded character. The city has seen a huge investment in new hotels and refurbishments, so the quality and range on offer is superb!

W Amsterdam

Stunning Design Hotel

With its commanding views of the Royal Palace and Dam Square, Mr. Porter atop the brand-new W Amsterdam has quickly become one of the city’s most popular nocturnal aeries. Designed by Yossi Eliyahoo with terrace and rooftop pool, the restaurant exudes the “wow” atmosphere cultivated by W, whose entry into Amsterdam has been as flashy and splashy as the exterior of the Brutalist-era building is understated. Check Rates Now!

Hotel Krasnapolsky

Luxury and Location!

In keeping with its location next door to de Bijenkorf, which is Amsterdam’s most prestigious department store, the newly-refurbished, five-star Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky exudes luxury from its opulent lobby to its oversized rooms which can be hard to find in the city’s small sized buildings.

Check for Rates!

Banks Mansion

All Inclusive

One of our bestsellers in Amsterdam! Set along the edge of the famous Herengracht canal, Banks Mansion features Art Deco design and original features. It offers elegant rooms with a unique all-inclusive concept to give guests a “home away from home” feeling. Check Rates Now!

The Gay Districts of Amsterdam

All of Amsterdam is very gay-friendly, so you won’t sense the “gay ghetto” mentality common in other cities. Nonetheless, some streets and neighborhoods do have a higher concentration of rainbow flags, tank tops and leather chaps.

amsterdam-exit-apres-chic

Dance at NYX at the weekend, if you can find room in the crowd.

Bar Prik

Cafe Prik is frisky with a young crowd, very popular on weekends with DJs, Sunday Free Bites.

Club Soho Amsterdam

Cafe Pub Soho is one of the largest gay bars in the city, classic wood interior, mostly guys, locals and tourists.

The Eagle Amsterdam

The Eagle is one of the longest running fetish and leather bars in Amsterdam and keeps testosterone levels high

Exploring Amsterdam’s different scenes by gaybourhood!

The Amsterdam gay scene is divided into three areas. Around the Reguliersdwarsstraat district, situated on the street of the same name in between the Single and Herengracht canals, close to the Koningsplein Bridge, you’ll find trendier bars who are continually opening and closing for even trendier refurbishment.

The Reguliersdwarsstraat is home to trendy bars and cafes and can be rather tame by Amsterdam standards. As with all gay streets around the world, the area continues to become more mixed and mainstream. That said, the area is also under constant redevelopment with several new gay venues planned or in development. Reguliersdwarsstraat is famous for summer nights when this pedestrian street is packed wall-to-wall with young gay people moving between clubs, many of them new, that include: Club NYX, Exit Après Chique, La Cage, and Pub Soho, among various mixed nightclubs, lounges and restaurants along both sides of the street.

Along the Amstel River and the adjacent Halvemaansteeg, you’ll find an amiable mix of younger dudes, older guys and anyone else who loves to quaff a beer while listening (or singing along) to music. There’s a far more traditional scene round the Amstel and the Rembrandtsplein. The Amstel Taveerne is one of the oldest gay pubs in Holland and has a completely disarming naffness, while Montmartre de Paris around the corner is home to all things camp and pop.

There’s a much heavier leather scene around the Warmoesstraat which can be found just off the Dam Square down the street from the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. The leather crowd frequents here, in the heart of Amsterdam’s infamous red light district.The bars are all around the start of the Red Light District so be prepared to be the subject of stares from hordes of American and Japanese tourists being herded through the streets of sex shops and prostitutes in windows. Most of the bars boast busy backrooms and a leather dress code and look out for The Eagle and Dirty Dicks, both definitely worth a pit stop. Here you will find flagships of the famous leather stores, Mister B and Rob, with a wide range of leather and fetish gear. The bar/restaurant Getto, plus other coffeeshops, take-outs and porn shops fill out the spaces in between.

Near Centraal Station, where Warmoesstraat meets the Zeedijk, the picturesque gay pubs on narrow streets on the canals draw mixed but mainly male crowds, from the maturely sophisticated to the young and artsy: Cafe De Barderij, De Engel van Amsterdam and the Queen’s Head are standouts. Across the Damrak, around Nieuwezijds Kolk, the Cuckoos Nest, the Web, and Boys Club 21 offer more erotic relaxation. Sauna Nieuwezijds is a recent addition to the neighborhood.

The oldest and traditional gay area in Amsterdam is situated around Kerkstraat, which is close to the Leidseplein Bridge in between the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht canals. This district has many of the gay guesthouses and hotels situated here and has the most cosy and low key atmosphere of the gay areas of the city.

Club Church, Spijker and Bronx Video make their stretch of Kerkstraat sexy. As well as the many choices for accommodation you can also find gay shops, restaurants and cafes in the area which has a distinctly ‘village’ ambience. The gay bars here offer a distinctly traditional atmosphere and it makes for a great place to start your evening as it is popular with both tourists and the local Dutch clientele.

The Jordaan district is another quiet neighborhood, home to numerous cafés, bookstores and some excellent shopping.

Amsterdam is not a big city and the scene tends to reflect this. There are few mega gay clubs, but plenty of special nights, jack-off parties and backrooms.

Booking.com

What to See & Do in AMSTERDAM?

If we’re talking about must-sees: don’t forget to take a canal cruise, explore the city by bike and relax on a sun-drenched terrace. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt? No problem, Amsterdam has plenty more to offer…

Rijksmuseum-amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt and more.

Van-Gogh-Museum

Dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, The Van Gogh Museum is located at the Museum Square.

A treasure-trove of Attractions!

Amsterdam is unmatched when it comes to the amount of attractions per square kilometre. Yet despite being a metropolis, visitors are often pleasantly surprised by its compact size. Practically all of the city centre attractions are within walking distance of each other.

World-famous museums for example, such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House and the Hermitage Amsterdam. The magnificent 17th-century Canal Ring, awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Or the city’s rich array of neighbourhoods: the 17th-century Jordaan, the colourful Pijp with its buzzing terraces and market, the Plantage which effortlessly blends nature, culture, history and science, the Eastern Docklands with its innovative architecture and design, and chic Oud-Zuid, home to numerous museums and exclusive shops. Or why not discover the west of the city, with the Westerpark, Westergasfabriek and abundance of imaginative Amsterdam School architecture.

Shopping in AMSTERDAM

There is a vast array of shopping opportunities, from fashion brands and chains (nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat) through to independent innovators and inspiring market stalls, such as at noordermarkt. Or get lost in the Jordaan or in the 9 Straatjes (nine Streets) – lanes that link the canals and where the most exclusive and original shops can be found, just like in the Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk.

De-Bijenkorf

De-Bijenkorf is home to some of the best names in high end menswear! It is the No 1 department store in Amsterdam.

The Gelderlandplein

The Gelderlandplein shopping mall has just gone under reconstruction and has been tastefully done. It’s beautiful inside and lots more shops, restaurants and cafes.

Shopping – A little something for everyone!

De Bijenkorf

Those with fantasies of overflowing shopping bags will see their dream come true at De Bijenkorf. The warehouse sized luxury department store recently went through a complete makeover. The best part? everything has changed as well, and for the better: not only do they carry more designer fashion and footwear brands for men  but the interior is lavish, with lots of marble, bronze, bigger entrances and a huge glass façade on the ground floor.

Gelderlandplein

Amsterdam’s biggest mall is smack in the middle of this unassuming neighbourhood, with a vast array of luxury shopping and dining options. Fashion boutiques abound, from ESPRIT to Sissy Boy as well as shoes, jewellery, beauty products, home décor and highend grocery stores.

&Klevering

In need of some gift inspiration? Go to one of the three &Klevering shops. No doubt you will walk out of this store with a present that will suit the receiver perfectly.From Snurk bedding to the beautiful toys by Janod and Nicolas Vahe’s food products… You will find it at this gift walhalla. www.klevering.com

Eating out in AMSTERDAM

With 28 Michelin stars, Amsterdam is a city of savvy gourmands who welcome more than 10 million  annual visitors to their table. Or try some traditional Dutch foods, perfect for when you are on the go or need refueling after an evening of partying!

Bulls and Dogs Amsterdam

At Bulls and Dogs try the ‘Smokey Pepper Dog’ with merguez sausage and hand-cut sweet potato fries

sofitel-high-tea Amsterdam

The Grand hotel is home to one of Amsterdam’s most classic afternoon teas! Treat yourself!

Dining, Where to Eat in Gay Amsterdam?

Rijks

Joris Bijdendijk, the Michelin-starred chef of Bridges, is the culinary mastermind behind  RIJKS, the exemplary upscale gourmet restaurant located in the newly-transformed Rijksmuseum.

Grand Café Krasnapolsky

Amsterdam’s three-star Michelin chef Jacob Jan Boerma is in charge of the kitchen at Grand Café Krasnapolsky, the expansive brasserie with views onto the National Monument on Dam Square. The café’s Cake Room lures guests with a wide array of house-made pastries and truffles infused with Wynand Fockink liqueurs, while the hors d’oeuvres bar features signature dishes prepared ringside.

Cafe Kobalt

Located in a UNESCO listed 17th-century warehouse alongside the Singel Canal near Centra Station, the amiable Café Kobalt serves drinks and tapas all day, from morning into the wee hours.

G’s Lunchboat

Can’t quite decide between a canal boat tour and a leisurely brunch? Here’s your chance to combine them. Enjoy G’s classics while cruising the canals: including the highly recommended oyster-topped Bloody Mary with a ‘bagel BLT’, banana-bacon waffl es with cinnamon and maple syrup or a ‘healthy benedict’ – cottage cheese, avocado, spinach, poached eggs and a hint of Hollandaise sauce on spelt toast.

  • Something Sweet to Eat?

    Stroopwafel If you try one Dutch sweet treat, make it a stroopwafel. Two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup; these delectable delicacies are best enjoyed hot and gooey from a street market or bakery!

  • A quick snack on the go?

    So you went out for a few drinks. You forgot to eat dinner. Those 8% Belgian beers are beginning to take their toll. What to do? The answer is in the bitterballen. Delicious, deep fried crispy meatballs traditionally served with mustard for dipping – they’re the ultimate in Dutch pub snacks and can be found on the menu at most Amsterdam drinking establishments.

  • Private Gourmet Tour

    In this 3-hour private tour, get the best of Amsterdam’s gourmet scene with this exclusive gastronomical experience of a lifetime. Taste 7 exquisite bites and tastings prepared in the best kitchens in town just for you and paired with 4 fantastic wines.

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