Gay Amsterdam Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Amsterdam Netherlands 2018

Gay Amsterdam Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Amsterdam Netherlands

Gay Amsterdam has a long and proud history of supporting its queer communities by leading the world in LGBT rights, hosting celebrations such as Pride Amsterdam and generally just not telling then what they can and can’t do!

How refreshing right? A country that – even historically – was not obsessed with interfering with its inhabitant’s actions in the bedroom. The Netherlands has always done things differently.

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Amsterdam had some of the world’s first gay bars opening in the 1910s and 20s (one of which, Café ’t Mandje,  is still open today ), and in 2001 the Netherlands became the first country to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriage. Amsterdam has frequently been named one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world, and gay travelers will quickly enjoy the freedoms of living in one of the world’s most culturally liberal countries.

There is a lot more to love in Gay Amsterdam than the many many gay bars, saunas, cruise clubs, dance parties and LGBT events – travelers can marvel at the golden age canals, iconic tilting gabled merchant houses, intriguing museums, vintage shop, creative design studios and the infamous Amsterdam coffeeshops.

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Even better English is almost universally spoken by the Dutch, meaning it is never difficult to chat with locals – you will just need to sift through a sea of tourists first! The nightlife here is nothing short of epic yet pleasantly attitude-free, so if you put yourself out there, you will never be lonely for long.

A city where sex has never been taboo, the LGBT community is embraced and nurtured and flamboyant gay glory can be found year round, its no wonder that Amsterdam is one of the world’s most popular queer travel destinations, and so many of us flock here year after year to experience life with real equality and unconstrained freedom.

No matter where your interest lie – culture, nightlife, food, wine, luxury hotels, sex or art – we are certain Gay Amsterdam will have something for you as well…

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Being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see in each city and most queer tourists will simply want to check out the top things to see in Amsterdam during the day!

Amsterdam is a very safe city, but still, all travelers should take caution with valuables. Gay people in Amsterdam do not need to make any precautions at all regarding public displays of affection in this very progressive city, and we encourage you to experience what true freedom feels like. There are so few places in the world as uninhibited and liberating for gay couples as the Netherlands, and this is something every one of us should be able to experience every day!

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Amsterdam has so many things to do it can be overwhelming, but for LGBTI visitors some neighborhoods are particularly interesting.  We loved wandering the Amstel, one of the city’s traditional LGBT areas and home to numerous brown cafés that reflect traditional Dutch culture or getting lost in the Zeedijk and Warmoesstraat area which are hubs of LGBT-friendly shops and nightlife in Amsterdam.

Everywhere in Amsterdam is gay-friendly however and you can also find numerous pink businesses and institutions throughout central Amsterdam and on Reguliersdwarsstraat and Kerkstraat. If you are not sure where to go, take a peek at our gay map of Amsterdam at the end to get an idea of where all the gay bars, clubs, sauna, cafes and stores are.

Having said that, here are just a few of our favorite things to do in Amsterdam to get you started!

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Top Highlights of Amsterdam
  • Van Gogh Museum – Plan at least half a day for this world-class museum showcasing hundreds of paintings, drawings, and letters by the Dutch master himself, Van Gogh Museum. It can get hectic here, so make sure to plan in advance so you don’t waste time queuing and consider a skip-the-line ticket.
  • Evening Canal Cruise – Experience Gay Amsterdam at its most picturesque on a romantic canal cruise by night. Discern the historic city center as you glide past the Skinny Bridge, Golden Bend, and more then gape at the floodlit merchant houses while learning more about where all the local hotspots are if you want to head out afterward.
  • Rijksmuseum – Indulge your love of classical art and appreciate over 400 masterpieces by great artists such as Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Vermeer and Rembrandt in one of Amsterdam’s grandest museums See the striking doll’s houses, the wealth of silverware, and over 800 years of Dutch art and history through 8,000 objects in 80 galleries

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  • A’DAM Lookout – Wallow in panoramic views of Amsterdam from on high at the newly opened A’DAM Lookout observation deck. Get acquainted with the city’s geography, from its iconic port to the layout of the Canal Belt while feeling as free as a bird on the 360º indoor panorama deck – a vertigo-inducing 20 stories off the ground.
  • Zaanse Schans Windmills – Venture out of Amsterdam for the day and experience the working windmill village of Zaanse Schans that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Stop in at clog makers and to learn more about the traditional wooden shoe and be awed by the graceful houses of the wealthy merchants and windmill owners.
  • Moco Museum – Yes, Amsterdam is blessed with a plethora of art, and here you can see the works from modern and contemporary ‘rock stars of art’ including Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, and Iranian street artists ICY & SOT and Banksy. This museum is especially engrossed in the radical leaders and influencers of new art forms like Street Art or Pop Art, making Moco Museum perfect for those who typically shy away from ‘stuffy’ art museums.

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  • Stedelijk Museum – Stumble upon one of the most talked-about collections of modern art and design in the world at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam where over 90,000 artifacts are housed in a spectacular renovated building on Museum Square.
  • Red Light District – Uncover what Amsterdam’s oldest and most controversial neighborhood has to offer, from coffee shops and jazz clubs to sex theaters and S&M shops. Learn about the realities and legends of this storied district and don’t forget to visit the Condomerie, the Old Church, Warmoestraat – the hardcore leather neighborhood – S&M specialist sex shops, video cabins, elite streets, the Prostitution Information Center, Newmarket, and much more. While Amsterdam is much more than sex, drugs and rock and roll…it’s hard to tell that from a store here.
  • I amsterdam City Card – Get the key to Amsterdam with an official I amsterdam City Card, valid for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours. Visit dozens of museums and attractions for free or at a discount, enjoy unlimited access to Amsterdam’s public transport and choose from many activities.

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Gay Things To Do In Amsterdam
  • Gays and Gadgets – A gay store in Amsterdam with a range of accessories and knick-kak offerings with a gay touch. Think indecent candy, cuddly stuffed toys, erotic coffee table books and rainbow china. There is also plenty of ‘gay clothing,’ basically think tank-tops and underwear to accentuate your features.
  • Homodok-lesbisch Archief – An extensive library and archive for information and documentation around homosexuality and sexual diversity. Maybe worth visiting if you are intensely interested.
  • Vrolijk Gay and Lesbian Bookshop – A popular gay and lesbian bookshop with over two floors of novels, travel guides, children’s books, comics, photography, calendars, magazines and small gifts to explore – most with a heavy LGBT slant. You can find most topics here from religion, theatre and psychology to lesbian motherhood and gay studies with a good selection of queer cinema. Basically something for everyone!

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  • RoB – A well-regarded leather and rubber shop in Amsterdam offering fetishwear to gay men. Really friendly and helpful staff who are happy to help find you exactly what your heart desires.
  • Mister B – A core part of the leather history in Amsterdam for nearly 25 years, recently moved to a new location but still offering the best in leather, rubber, and gay sex toys. Mister B also has locations in Antwerp and Berlin.
  • Winq Magazine – A gay lifestyle sold in newsstands around Amsterdam which is worth picking up for the latest information on the scene – and it is published in English and Dutch!
  • De Oeverlanden Park – The most prominent cruising spot in Amsterdam and the only place where it is officially tolerated in public, as indicated on signs provided by the city. Just be aware you can get fined if you cruise outside the designated area, and like most public cruising around the world it is dangerous at night so still to daylight hours if this is your thing

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  • Homomonument – A touching memorial in the center of Amsterdam, that commemorates all gay men and lesbians who have been subjected to persecution because of their homosexuality. Taking the form of three large pink triangles made of granite, set into the ground to form a larger triangle, the Homomonument was designed to inspire and support lesbians and gays in their struggle against denial, oppression, and discrimination. It was also the first monument in the world to commemorate gays and lesbians who were killed by the Nazis when it opened in 1987. During the Netherlands’ annual Remembrance Day ceremony on May 4, wreaths are laid on the monument to commemorate LGBT victims of persecution. On May 5, Liberation Day, the memorial becomes the site of a street party.
  • Pink Point – A gay information center next to the Homomonument on the Westermarkt run by the city! How cool is that? They can give general advice on the latest ongoings in Gay Amsterdam and is a great place to stop by at the beginning of your trip. They also have some cool queer souvenirs you will be

Naturally, a city the size of Amsterdam has plenty more to explore!

We recommend getting a full guidebook if you are staying for more than a night or two. It probably won’t have any information on Gay Amsterdam – that’s what we are here for – but it will have useful tips and an exhaustive list of the best attractions across the Netherlands to assist you on your fabulous adventure!

Gay Events In Amsterdam
  • Pink Film Days / Roze Filmdagen – Held annually in March, this festival has been a key part of the gay Amsterdam cultural landscape since 1996. The Roze Filmdagen has an excellent reputation for bringing in top programming and a diverse array of LGBTQ cinema including feature films, documentaries, and shorts.
  • International Queer and Migrant Film Festival – Held in December, this film festival looks at the sexual diversity amongst migrants in the world, bring the power of cinema to this traditionally underrepresented group.
  • TranScreen Amsterdam Trans*gender Film Festival – A multi-day film festival with international films about transgender and gender diversity. They screen a mix of films from all over the world; feature films, shorts, mainstream, experimental, professional and community films, and showcase an art program with video and other art forms.

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  • Love Dance – An annual benefit evening/night at Paradiso, that is the focus of World Aids Night (December) in Amsterdam. An upbeat way to reflect on the still prevailing HIV / AIDS problem and raise as much money as possible for the Aids Fund with artists, DJs, divas and live performances.
  • Milkshake Festival – A queer dance festival in mid-July that has been created from the thought ‘nothing should be a must, anything is possible’. Milkshake festival shows that entertainment, taste in music, choice of clothing and status has nothing to do with sexuality. Life is just a party thanks to the great diversity of skin colors, religions, sexual preferences and male and female forms. Milkshake wants to celebrate liberal Amsterdam while trying to bring courtesy and friendly manners back into society. Thick, thin, small, large, gay, straight, trans, black or white: people are the salt of the earth, and this is something to celebrate! Go for the day for the epic line-ups of camp and stay for the whole festival.

  • Bear Weekend – The annual get together for bears, cubs, muscle bears, daddies, chubbies, chasers, polar bears and everything in between, taking place annually in Gay Amsterdam. The guys behind Furball, Bear Necessity, and Club Church are the driving force behind Amsterdam Bear Weekend with that idea to create an umbrella event for the community, by the community, from people that are part of that community. Different bars, organizations, clubs or individuals who all feel part of this community come together to contribute to the event, be it small or large! Keep an eye on their schedule on their Facebook page – but you can guarantee no matter whats on, Bear Week is anything but boring!
  • Flirtation on the Beach – A fashionable women-only part where over 1250 open-minded women from all different backgrounds gather for a big beach party at Bloemendaal aan Zee. A wild fun time with the top female DJs, fabulous entertainment and a guaranteed great ‘girls night out.’ They also organize epic women-only dance nights in Amsterdam throughout the year.

  • Amsterdam Fetish Pride – Just when we thought Gay Amsterdam could no get anymore uninhibited and kinky, Amsterdam Fetish Pride comes along every May and throws at us every type of fetish event imaginable from leather and rubber to army, uniform, sportswear and so, so, SO much more. There are more events that we can possibly list but the highlight of the week is the unforgettable Invasion Fetish Party that takes place at the industrial NDSM Docks.

  • Amsterdam Gay Pride – The biggest gay pride in the Netherlands, taking place in July/August, with a diverse range of events over one week and an epic street parties over the weekend. The main event is the famous Canal Parade on a Saturday afternoon which draws in crowds of tens of thousands who vie for the best spots canal-side perches along Prinsengracht, and on the Amstel River, to spot the floating barges bedecked out in over-the-top gay flamboyant glory. A site like no other in the world, this is one of our favorite Gay Pride in the world and worth planning an entire trip around! Just be sure to book your hotels in Amsterdam far in advance – It is a busy, busy week!

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Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in Amsterdam Netherlands

While basically every hotel in Amsterdam is friendly and welcoming to the LGBT community, there are some that make an exceptional effort to be part of gay Amsterdam.

No hotels are exclusively for gay men anymore – a sign of the liberal times we guess – but others are still a crucial part of the gay scene because of there location and history and some hotels are just known as being exceptionally welcoming of gay guests. The following gay hotels in Amsterdam can all be relied on for an extraordinary stay in Amsterdam.

Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht - a concept by Hyatt

There are hundreds of other good hotel option in Amsterdam if you don’t find what you are looking for but we are confident you’ll find something here for you. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a chic designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people  – Gay Amsterdam as something for everyone!
W Hotel Amsterdam
Luxury Hotels in Amsterdam
  • W Amsterdam ☆☆☆☆☆ – Always very gay-popular, this global hotel chain brings their signature style to Amsterdam with a unique one-off creation dripping in avant-garde design and hip luxury. Split across two unique buildings, a former telephone exchange building and a bank, W Amsterdam is an intriguing design mix of heritage and contemporary style where nights never end, and the pulse is always set high –day or night – and the rooftop W Lounge & WET Deck. Experience the innovative design and luxury in any one of their 238 stylish guestrooms, including 23 suites, three WOW suites and two lavish Extreme WOW Suites Design, fashion, and music connect at the W to create an extraordinary dynamic for the city of canals, and it is our favorite hotel in Amsterdam…Close to all the gay attractions by day or by night.

W Hotel Amsterdam

  • Kimpton De Witt ☆☆☆☆☆ – Exuding a modern approach to luxury through fresh, refined rooms and imaginative spaces that are steeped in inspired Dutch design, the Kimpton is a very gay-popular choice to stay in Amsterdam. Experience an immersive labyrinth of contemporary millwork, lush layers and clean lines in this hotel that does not take itself too seriously in the heart of Amsterdam’s thriving City Centre. Unwind in the leafy garden conservatory, have a quiet night in at the cozy House Bar, which dates back to the Dutch Golden Age, or hit the gym if you really feel like it…

Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam

  • Hotel TwentySeven ☆☆☆☆☆ – One of the most celebrated hotels in Amsterdam, this extraordinary and sensational suite boutique hotel is found in the beating heart of Amsterdam’s city center: The Dam Square, overlooking the renowned monument and the Royal Palace. Not a single detail has gone unnoticed by the visionary two-time winner of the Hotelier of the Year Award Eric Toren, and it shows. The magnificent studios and 1 to 2 bedroom suites feature luxurious furnishings, oak floors, and stone bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. There is also a flamboyantly decorated bar, and butler service is available upon request – among other luxe amenities.

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  • The Dylan ☆☆☆☆☆ – Offering genuine and truly tailored service, the Dylan, is an icon of modern European design and a much-coveted luxury 5-star boutique hotel in Gay Amsterdam. With sophisticated interiors, refined room, posh suites with rainfall showers and canal views there is a lot to love here – but we can’t forget the graceful award-winning restaurant, the trendy wine bar, and elegant courtyard garden.
  • Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht ☆☆☆☆☆ – A trendy hotel with voguish design and Fashionable, futuristic rooms and suites; many with views over the historic Amsterdam canals. Facilities include a stylish restaurant and a ritzy bar with assorted designer decor, plus a video art gallery, a full gym, and a sumptuous spa.

Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht - a concept by Hyatt

Mid-range and Budget  Hotels in Amsterdam
  • citizenM Amsterdam Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – Offering affordable luxury to all citizens of the world, we first fell in love with the Citizen M concept in Glasgow, but you can also find them in Taipei, NYC, London, and Paris. Their idea is to cunningly designed rooms around sleeping, the lobby to feel like a living room and the canteen to be all homely and, er, kitcheny. Ultra-modern, high-tech and very contemporary, the Citizen M also keeps cost downs but not providing all the luxe extras you never actually use.

citizenM Amsterdam

  • The Student Hotel Amsterdam City ☆☆☆☆ – A newspaper office in another life, the building has been transformed into student accommodation, a very hip hotel, and studio apartments. The rooms are comfortable and relaxing, and excellent value for Amsterdam. The catch is they are slightly out of town, but that’s is just an excuse to use public transport or bike like a local.
  • Volkshotel ☆☆☆☆ – A contemporary hotel set in the De Pijp neighborhood with unique touches such as fruit crate beds, hammocks, Japanese baths and digital movie projectors in the modern rooms. Surprisingly affordable given there location out of the center, there is a colorful rooftop club with panoramic views, a basement bar, sauna, yoga and hot tub to make up for it!

Volkshotel Gay Amsterdam Hotel

  • ANCO Hotel ☆☆☆ – A formerly men-only gay hotel that is now is a living tradition in the middle of the Red light district, strategically located in the city center, on a canal just a few blocks away from the infamous Warmoesstraat bars. Today ANCO is still exceptionally gay-friendly and in walking distance to all the gay nightlife, but this modern hotel in a 17th-century canal home is now open to everyone. We found a lot of love still however including the affordable prices, bright, colorful rooms, canal views and complimentary breakfast.
  • Ibis Styles Amsterdam Amstel ☆☆☆– A budget hotel offering incredible value in the heart of the Amsterdam gay scene. You get a great big – and quiet – room, clean bathroom, simple breakfast, and free advice from the front desk…all with a very affordable price tag.

ibis Styles Amsterdam Amstel

  • Amistad ☆☆☆ – The prototypical Amsterdam gay hotel, which was run by a group of gay men who made the Amistad one of the core components of the cities gay scene. Sadly, however in 2018 after a re-brand become significantly ‘less gay.’ Previously known as the “Gay-Friendly Hotel,” Amistad Hotel is still always delighted to welcome any guest, no matter if you’re lesbian, gay, transgender, straight or questioning. Fully renovated and in one of the top locations in the city center of Amsterdam this beautifully decorated and traditional 400-year-old Dutch townhouse / B&B offers a quiet and comfortable space with all the vibrant gay Amsterdam nightlife within easy reach – within 100 meters is the legendary cruise club Church for example.
  • The Golden Bear ☆☆ – Another once celebrated Amsterdam gay hotel that has since changed hands and now focussed on backpackers and budget guests. The hotel’s outrageous history and central location still make it a very gay-popular choice for proximity to Amsterdam’s nightlife, plus there is a complimentary continental breakfast, but the Golden Bear has defiantly had its Golden age.

Quentin Golden Bear Hotel

  • ClinkNOORD Hostel ☆☆☆ – On a budget, don’t mind sharing a dorm or just want to meet other travelers to party the night away with? Then the stunning ClinkNOORD is for you. Offering modern Dutch-style interiors and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere with dormitory accommodation, private rooms, and a great-value buffet breakfast. The building was initially a beautiful 1920’s laboratory, and many features have been retained, including an impressive stained glass window that runs right to the top floor. The hostel also has some fantastic social spaces including a library/workspace, a sunny and spacious atrium, a café and an in-hostel bar which is a great place to meet fellow travelers. Very gay-friendly and you will not be lonely here for long.

ClinkNOORD Hostel Amsterdam

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Gay Nightlife in Amsterdam

We are not even sure where to start as the gay nightlife in Amsterdam is amongst the best in the world.

If you are as overwhelmed as we are, the only thing you need to know is the Reguliersdwarsstraat / Amstel / Kerkstraat area and the Amsterdam historical city center around Dam Square are the hub of LGBT nightlife in Amsterdam…But by no means the only place to spend the night with your global queer family.

Gay club parties in Amsterdam are all the range with different locations across the city every evening, but we have only listed the most popular and fabulous, as there are almost too many to count!

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Use our Gay Amsterdam Map at the end if you’re lost, but there is plenty of plenty of bars, cocktail lounges, bearded glitter queens and bear dens littered across Amsterdam to satisfy even the most discerning of gay travelers.

We have only focussed on explicitly gay venues here in Amsterdam, but the city and country are so liberal don’t feel like you can’t make out with your partner in most bars or clubs here!

Refreshing and freeing, the gay nightlife in Amsterdam has something for everyone! 

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Reguliersdwarsstraat Street / Kerkstraat / Amstel Gay Bars
  • SOHO Amsterdam – A charming and vibrant club / English-style gay pub that also attracts a lot of curious straight girls. There’s always something going on that draws in the international party animal crowds. Passionate and friendly staff serving strong drinks to keep the booze-fuelled dance fun going, with a more chilled terrace to cool off on.
  • Spijker Bar – The friendliest and most attitude-free gay bar in Amsterdam, not that we found much attitude here compared to places like Las Vegas, Paris, Toyko, and Rome. Faithfully serving the Amsterdam gay community since 1978, this hassle-free bar is frequented by a mix of residents and tourists with alternative music, pinball, a pool table, fireplace, and two TV’s showing cartoons and gay action movies. They have a legendary bingo night on Sundays, and a small dark room upstairs for those might feel the urge.

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  • Lellebel – The best place in Amsterdam to do for absolutely extraordinary, a thigh-smacking drag show with an entertaining and vibrant atmosphere. This is a small venue, but as us gay men know – it’s not about size but how you use it, and Lellebel sure knows how to deliver! During the weekdays it’s relaxed and cozy, so you get a chance to know everyone inside, and on the weekends Lellebel gets packed out quickly with a lively crowd who come for the karaoke performances and talented queens who know how to make everyone feel welcome. Very trans-friendly and popular.
  • Taboo – A cozy gay bar centrally located on the main Amsterdam gay street. Sociable bartenders, enjoyable crowds and an extensive selection of drinks! They now also have the Taboo Kantine/ Lounge next door to the original Taboo bar for even more fun. The outdoor terrace is perfect for chilling on those rare sunny days in Amsterdam, or the small interior space makes it easy to rub shoulders with the elites of the gay world at night, Drag Queens! Every Wednesday there is also fabulously queer cabaret cocktail night with shows, games and cheap cocktails!

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  • Fame – The newest gay bar in Amsterdam! Everyone here is very friendly, the drinking games allow you to socialize easily, and the drink prices are reasonable. A fun start to any night with a busy Happy Hour and karaoke plus sexy go-go dancers and drag shows most weekends.
  • Café Montmartre – One of the most popular bars in Gay Amsterdam that gets absolutely packed on weekends – not that we are complaining about rubbing shoulders with all those cute Dutch boys. Drinks are reasonably priced, and while the kitschy music ranges Dutch pop to throwback hits, there is no room to dance in this bizarre little bar. There is a daily Happy hour from 2 till 8 pm which draws in lots of locals, and if you can time your visit for the 2nd Friday of the month, there is a ‘Goed Draag’ Day. We are giant Drag Race fans and have all the merch, and love to support drag queens around the world.

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  • Exit Café – Exit Bar, Soho, and Taboo are all close to each other so you can easily see quickly which is more your scene. This small and always crowded gay bar plays house music all day every day to the young and beautiful crowd. If you are the type to not start your night til after midnight, you will enjoy there daily happy hour between 1 and 2 am. Like most LGBT spaces, there is always something unexpected and exciting happening here.
  • Amstel Fifty Four – One of the oldest and most trusted establishments in the Amsterdam gay scene, open to the public since 1964 and popular with both locals and international tourists. Good looking and hospitable staff, laid-back atmosphere and excellent drag shows are the main reason to go but beware of the time warp if you have other plans later on as the atmosphere here draws you in, and it is hard to leave.

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  • Reality Bar – Caribbean hospitality right in the center of Amsterdam – Yes, there is no need to go all the way to Cancun, Santo Domingo or Punta Cana! Reality is geared towards black and men of color and women but is proud of the unique mix of people of all ages, color, race, and gender who flock here. One of the few bars in town where black and white gay guys regularly meet and mingle, and you can guarantee their daily 2-4-1 Happy Hour, which runs from 8.30pm to 10 pm on Sunday to Thursday will draw in large crowds. Shake that body ’till you can’t move no more with relaxed and laid Caribbean music that transitions later in the night as the DJ lets ferociously uptempo Latin music pump from the speakers!

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  • Queers Café – The name says it all right? The place in Amsterdam where everyone is welcome and where us fabulous gays can just be! Full of atmospheric ambiance, glitter, and glamor, enjoy cheap drinks with pop classics baring under the bling of faux chandeliers. Some of the best drag shows in Amsterdam take place here, but even early in the night, this is one of the most glamorous bars in the Gay Amstel area to stop off at.  Whether you want to have a coffee with your rainbow family or to start early on a night out that is sure to go until the wee hours, this is the place for you!

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Central Amsterdam Gay Bars
  • Café ’t Mandje – One of the world’s oldest gay bars opening in 1927 by lesbian Bet van Beeren. It closed in 1982 and was preserved intact and reopened in 2008. Originally more of a tolerant place where prostitutes, pimps, seamen and lesbians could hang out, Café ‘t Mandje is still an important piece of LGBT history, and there is even a replica in the Amsterdam Museum. The walls are covered in quirky mementos and old photos, and there are lots of nooks to have conversations in and to soak in the history and buzzing energy. If your lucky the current owner (niece of the original owner, Bet) will tell you all about it, with salacious gossip and juice anecdotes – yes, lesbians are just as wild as gay boys! A highlight of Gay Amsterdam and not to be missed!

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  • Café Barderij – One of the only old-fashioned gay brown café / traditional Dutch pubs in Amsterdam, this fun bar has a keen following and draws in locals of all ages. The perfect place to relax in on a lazy afternoon or start you Big Gay Night when an eclectic range of tunes stars being pumped out.
  • Ghetto – A chilled space for late night food and great cocktails offering an attitude-free zone, for gays, lesbians, bi, queers, and straights. The sort of place you could visit once or three times a week wear full leathers, dress up dress down, or bring your mom, no wonder Ghetto is one of Amsterdam’s top “unknown” Hotspots.
  • The Queen’s Head – One of Amsterdam’s best down-to-earth gay hotspot for nearly two decades, the Queen’s Head bar still attracts a very diverse clientele with local regulars and plenty of lured in by the stunning view over the canals. A welcoming gay bar that embraces diversity and guests of every gender, race, sexuality, and age. Drag Queen owned with funky DJ’s on the busier weekends and popular bingo night on Tuesdays. Come during the week for quiet conversations over drinks, or the weekend for a wild time. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday you can also attend the Netherbears meeting here – a gathering of bears, bearded men, and their chasers.

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  • Hotspot Bar –A no-nonsense gay bar for enjoying drinks, snacks and queer company with campy music video’s and friendly staff who always made you feel welcome. Frequently crowded, which works in your favor if you want to meet a gay local in Amsterdam, and the perfect spot to duck into after a long day of sightseeing.
  • Café Saarein – Nothing fancy, but the only real lesbian bar in Amsterdam and sometimes all you want is an old-fashioned watering hole to relax over pool or darts. You can meet friendly locals here who also want to chat, there are unisex toilets and Café Saarein is outside typical touristic areas so is a great go-to place to experience the real LGBT+ community of Amsterdam.
  • Prik – A flamboyant pink bar to experience lovely liquids, sexy snacks, and twisted tunes! Nice and friendly staff with reasonable priced cocktails and drinks, plus a DJ night on Saturdays. The crowd is often between 35 to 60yrs, but with ‘gays and their friends’ vibes to start your night off.

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Gay Nightclubs In Amsterdam
  • Club NYX – A extremely popular club with know’s how to harness the element of surprise and make every night out fun! Housed in a four-story building they have created a colorful world of wonders, one to fall in love with and get lost in. Nyx is a space created for anyone who wants to have fun, and who loves what a great nightlife experience is all about: drinking, dancing, and laughing. Each floor offers a distinctive music style but wheater it’s the music, the entertainment, the decor, the staff or the crowd, this club always focused on being a bright, easy-going and unpretentious space for open-minded individuals – gay, straight or unicorn!

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  • De Trut – A non-commercial Sunday’s only underground disco for dike, trans, queer or anything in between founded in the early eighties. According to the statutes of De Trut, any profit must be solely used for the benefit of small-scale dike, trans and gay activities, so why not take the opportunity to party for a good cause with a vibrant atmosphere, fun music, low prices and safe environment. All the employees of De Trut work on a voluntary basis, the costs are relatively low, and a nice profit can be made. De Trut has a small capacity of around 200 hundred people so arrive early if you want to get in!
  • Club Yolo – A new gay/openminded Club for all the happy party people of Amsterdam! Expect house and eclectic sounds, with a different DJ every, friendly staff, East-meets-West glamour decor and one of the best parties in town!

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Gay Parties In Amsterdam
  • Rapido – Amsterdam’s most talked about gay dance party that draws in huge international crowds. Rapido is held several times a year at various big club venues in Amsterdam though expanding into the international gay circuit scene hosting gay, queer and open-minded parties across Europe. Brilliant DJ’s, superb production values, and erotic dancers make all of their event’s sell-out in advance so if you are planning a gay trip to Amsterdam around this – which you should – book your tickets early.
  • FunHouse – From the same team as Rapido so expect more uplifting beats and music, surprising entertainment, mindblowing special effects and a different theme every night.

  • Spielraum @ Radion –A gay techno party that strives to bring high-quality techno into an open and playful atmosphere. Techno is the soundtrack to all the adventurous evening here, and these guys take music their music seriously. Sorry, no Katy Perry or Gaga requests No matter how old you are, where you come from or whatever you prefer, Spielraum offers you a place to move freely, to discover who you are…and to play!
  • Kalinichta Party – Kalinichta is a new straight-friendly LGBT dance party, honoring the beats from Slovenia to Greek and Lebanon. Think upbeat tunes, crowded dance floors and the hottest guys (and girls!). Usually held at Noorderlicht Café every few months but check their Facebook page for the latest details.

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  • BACKDOOR Amsterdam – Billed as more than just another evening, this spectacular party is a show, a production, an evening of dancing and non-stop entertainment … and one of the most popular tea dance for LGBT+ and friends being held every few months in new and novel venues around Amsterdam.
  • Flirtation – A women’s-only dance night taking place 3-4 times a year that usually takes over Club Panama and fills it with everything to make a unique ‘girls night out.’
  • BLUE @ Club Church – The infamous Club Church (discussed under cruise bars) holds a weekly gay dance party on Thursday nights known for its utterly-disgraceful and intoxicating atmosphere, camp shows and eccentric misfits. Cheap drinks, hot guys, and inhibition-free fun!
  • Furball @ Church Club – Amsterdam’s longest running men only dance & cruise party for bears and their friends. Come and dance to fun music and cruise in a sexy atmosphere with butch, big, small, hairy, smooth, tall or short men, bears, cubs, chubs, chasers and everything in-between. Darkrooms + dance floor + drinks, with men only and no dress code!

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  • F*cking Pop Queers – A monthly pop party for young and trendy gays that moves between venues frequently. Run by Ultasexi, a local queer cooperative which uses parties as a medium to shed light on their aims of living a more creative and free-spirited life. Either way, their parties are always f*cking fun!
  • Spellbound @ OCCII – A queer underground dance party focussed on house, techno, electro, disco and wave music
  • Danserette @ Paradiso Amsterdam – Gay dance parties full of hits that you know or recognize. Created in 2006 due to a lack of a dance floor in gay Amsterdam where pink hits were played. We are talking bubblegum pop and dance songs from the 90’s, 00’s and 10’s – Think Madonna, Gaga, and Kylie. Held every 1-2 months, check their Facebook for one-off events held in unique locations like the Amsterdam Museum.

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  • BEAR-Necessity – Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities … Just us? Well, that probably good as this attitude-free party where real men meet to socialize, and dance is a little more X- rated than the classic Disney film. Drawing in all the bears, wolves, otters, cubs and more with high-quality music by local international DJ’s this event straddles the line of circuit and underground gay scene. The sounds are progressive and sophisticated with an emphasis on quality tracks rather than gay anthems. BEAR-Necessity has become one of the biggest party events in Gay Amsterdam and usually takes place months at Panama Amsterdam a huge club with a capacity of 1150 people, but other venues are often announced. Launched in 2008, BEAR-Necessity has now expanded into regular parties in London and Antwerp, as well as holding one-off events in Cologne, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Alpe d’Huez and Tel Aviv.

Gay Saunas in Amsterdam

Had enough of gay cruising in Amsterdam – either in the bars or elsewhere?

For those who want a bit more guaranteed action, there is only one gay sauna in Amsterdam… but luckily it is pretty good and should not disappoint you (unlikely all those faceless Grinder accounts…). If you want to explore your kinky side without a steamy sauna, there is also the gay Amsterdam cruise club scene which is as sensually self-indulgent as you will find anywhere on Earth.

Foreigners are happily welcoming in all gay sex clubs and sauna in Amsterdam, and most will speak English, but you’ll still need to be good at reading non-verbal cues. Luckily we have out gay sauna guide to help you out!

Gay sauna or not, in any sexual encounter, please take adequate precautions. No matter what your intentions are in Gay Amsterdam, you should bring your own condoms and lube to play it safe.

Besides, you never know what other fun surprises your trip might have in store for you…

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  • Sauna Nieuwezijds – A fabulously modern and cruisy fun gay sauna in Amsterdam, conveniently located just minutes from the central station. Open 365 days per year – and only closed for a few hours every morning, Sauna Nieuwezijds boats a fully licensed bar with relaxing lounge, cozy 8-man whirlpool, Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, private cabins, light meals, male masseurs, a smoker’s lounge and abundant cruising space. Sauna Nieuwezijds is run by the same team as the fabulous naughty Club Church in Amsterdam, so you just know things here are going to be anything but boring. Busy almost every day but with a popular No Towel Tuesday night and Twinkie Wednesday and on the weekend you should be prepared to queue. What else would you expect when Sauna Nieuwezijds is easily one of the best saunas in the world! Guests to Sauna NZ are obligated to show their ID or passport at the entrance, and the sauna is open to exclusively to men and transmen.

Gay Cruising and Fetish Clubs in Amsterdam

If the bars or gay parties in Amsterdam are too vanilla for you, perhaps these fetish clubs and cruise lounges are a better fit?

We have to warn you; however, Amsterdam has one of the most intense fetish scenes we have ever come across – up there with Rome, Paris, Munich, Vienna, and Prague and it is definitely not for everyone. We have tried to identify places for the more ‘initiated,’ but there is nothing vanilla here.

Most of these ultra-hardcore cruising venues / gay sex clubs in Amsterdam are centrally located and easy to find,  but you can use our Gay Amsterdam map at the end to find the closest to you.

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  • Church Club – Get down on your knees, but don’t expect to be praying. Yes, Church Club is the stuff of legends! An absolutely wild gay sex club in Amsterdam known around the world as an uninhibited place where all fetishes and fantasies unite. There is a large bar, dance floor with DJ, private cabins, kinky dark rooms, and showers – plus free & secure coat check and condoms everywhere. Church Club is not for the faint of heart, but the perfect place for exploring your long-held fantasies in a non-judgemental environment. Check their website for the weekly agenda and upcoming parties to find your kink. There is underwear, sportswear, bear parties and naked nights of course, and every Tuesday is fetish lounge with Andrew’s cross is ready for use, Freddy the fuck machine is on standby, and six slings are at your service – as well as all the whips, paddles and restraints you can handle. There is also a frequent Oil Party where two hundred sexy guys and a pool filled with warm oil get together on a excellent rub-down or grease-up is a slippery spectacle or the extra-depraved Slave Auction where slaves are stripped, bound and inspected by masters and sold to the highest bidder. There is much, much more going on the Church Club so take a look and plan your trip accordingly.

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  • The WEB – A famous leather & jeans cruise club in Amsterdam, inspired by Tom of Finland. Burly, masculine men heads here after work for the social – but very cruisy – bar downstairs then head upstairs to the big dark room with dark cruising area, slings cabins.
  • Dirty Dicks – A integral part of the Amsterdam gay scene, this unashamedly sleazy was established in 1974, making it one of the oldest Gay Fetish bars in Amsterdam. Dirty Dicks is a fetish bar, and in general, has  an expectation of a particular type of atmosphere and behavior. Most people go to a fetish bar looking for certain types of men, but no strict dress code is enforced here. Suggests to come in are leather, rubber, latex, uniforms, army, gas masks, boots. You get the idea. Dark, dirty and deprived – the two floors here have a bar, large dark room, cubicles, play zones and more. The parties here (listed on their website) are legendary for the extremes they go to, and kinks they cater to – and are not at all for the faint-of-heart or initiated. You have been warned.

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  • EAGLE Amsterdam – Eagle is the oldest and most famous dance club, very cruisy and strictly men only. The Eagle attracts all types of gays and men love to come to this place because of the array of options it provides. There is no dress code on regular nights, but during their epic Sunday parties (on the 1st and 3rd of every month) there are naked or underwear dress codes. The location consists of three floors: the bar and dance floor is on the ground floor, on the second floor there is a communal cruising area with a picnic table to try out all your sex position. Darkrooms in the basement allow you to have paramount enjoyment with showers, slings, glory holes, beds, bondage hooks and more. The main dance floor is always pumping with hardcore house music, alongside amazing laser lights for the circuit boys. There is a lounge as well a smoking lounge where one can sit and have a chat. The club opens daily at 10 pm and closes at 04 am from Sunday to Thursday, but on weekends (Fridays & Saturdays) the club closes at 05 am. Gets crowded during weekdays and extremely crowded during the weekends, expect to queue on those days.

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  • The Cuckoo’s Nest – A gay sex club in Amsterdam which started life in 1984 as a leather bar and now has quite a mixed patronage, from local regulars to tourists, from young to old, and from various ethnic origins albeit still very fetish oriented. Technically the Cuckoo’s Nest is just regular café which happens to have a darkroom out back, so there’s no entrance fee, but you are expected to buy one drink every time you visit. Don’t be fooled though, every visiting the Cuckoo’s Nest has one thing in mind – why else would you come to one of Europe’s largest playrooms! There is a sizeable seedy maze, private rooms, and almost no light. Condoms and lubricant are available for free from the coat check, which we always recommend using to avoid pickpockets anywhere in Gay Amsterdam (there is no better time to strike than when you are distracted with your pants down..)

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Gay Amsterdam Map