An unexpectedly cool city in the south of the Netherlands, Gay Eindhoven is a refreshingly different destination for a weekend escape – or more – largely due to a culture of inclusivity, design, and out-of-the-box-thinking.
Eindhoven is the 5th largest city of the Netherlands history dates back to the 12th century – but due to the destruction of WW2 is largely overlooked by tourists looking for picture-perfect old towns to photograph and add to Instagram. After the War, the city reinvented itself with modernist architecture and the help of Philips, the electronics giant founded here. As a result, the cities fortunes were largely tied to Philips even as it declined and moved its headquarters to Amsterdam in 1997.
Today this industrial legacy is the main reason we fell in love with Eindhoven, and to see the city revived itself again as the Modern Dutch Design Capital is truly refreshing. In Eindhoven, as in life, every cloud has a silver lining.
Known as ‘Lichtstad’ (City of Light) for its connection with Philips, this nickname today takes new meaning as Eindhoven has become a shining become for all those with a passion for technology, design, and knowledge. And like moths to a flame, passionate people have come here to leave their mark on this city in transition. The result is Eindhoven is now a city bursting with energy, new ideas, events and an infectious vibe that begs you to stay longer
We will be the first to admit that the LGBT+ scene in Eindhoven pails in comparison to its hedonistic big brother, Amsterdam, but that isn’t to say gay life does exist here. In fact on our visit, we were surprised by the sheer variety of local groups infusing Gay Eindhoven with queer spirit in their own unique way: the result of which is a broad range of events with something for everyone.
There are the fluid safe spaces organized by Plasma, ‘Queering the Collection’ events of Van Abbe Museum including a beginner Drag Nights, the queer support group, COC Eindhoven and outrageously fabulous queer pop-up events by DayDayGay (DDG) just to name a few – and even a few dedicated gay bars thrown in to boot, not that you should feel the need to limit yourself to such venues in such an open city.
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. Even better English is almost universally spoken by the Dutch, meaning it is never difficult to chat with locals – and unlike Amsterdam, you will never need to sift through a sea of tourists to find them! 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 – and we have some pretty great ideas to help you connect with the local LGBT+ community here.
Eat. Drink. Meet. Design. Connect. Learn. Gay Eindhoven is so much more than meets the eye, and for curious explorers offers an inspirational destination like no other.
Gay Eindhoven Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Eindhoven Netherlands
In this article we will cover...
- Gay Eindhoven Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Eindhoven Netherlands
Attractions in Gay Eindhoven
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 Eindhoven during the day!
Eindhoven is a very safe city, but still, all travelers should take caution with valuables. Gay people in Eindhoven do not need to take 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!
Eindhoven has so many things to do it – if you are will to take the time to look. Unsurprisingly for a city with such a strong industrial past, there’s no shortage of warehouses, urban spaces and old factories to turn into trendy shops, workspaces and cool places to eat. Strijp-S, in particular, is buzzing with new ideas, new places to go and general laidback vibes – making spending time here one of our favorite things to do in Eindhoven.
The area was actually once known as the ‘forbidden city’ because only Philips employees could go there (to work). Since those plants started to move, the area has been preserved and updated to become the hub of innovation and culture it is now. You can admire the surroundings while sipping on coffee at uber-cool Radio Royal, a vibrant open-plan café in an old Philips factory, exploring urban farms, getting lost in VR gaming or simply sampling the moreish ice cream at Intelligentia Taste Rooms (more on that later).
Strijp-S also plays host to events like Dutch Design Week and the STRP festival – and we haven’t even started talking about the shops! It’s a great atmosphere and you could easily spend all your time in Eindhoven here – it’s the perfect example of successful revitalization of a historic area.
Beyond Strijp-S we also loved getting lost biking around Eindhoven, exploring contemporary art and design in one of the cities many galleries or diving into the creative dining scene here. Basically everywhere in Eindhoven is gay-friendly but we will specifically mention businesses and institutions in Eindhoven that we think are going out of their way to make our community feel welcome.
While Eindhoven is not for everybody, everybody is welcome in Eindhoven.
Top Highlights of Gay Eindhoven
- TAC.nu – A Temporary Art Centre that is oh-so-Eindhoven it hurts with an astonishing range of up-and-coming artist, aspiring theatre directors and young people experimenting with performance and culture. There are over 70 artist studios here, as well as gallery space, events space, and a theatre. Open Thursday till Sunday except in summer – check out their website for exhibition info or to discover other off-beat events taking place.
- Plasma – An inclusive platform hosting offline events to connect all humans. They are named Plasma because, much like plasma, they believe people are fluid and can take all shapes and forms. A safe space where you are encouraged to speak your mind and share your dance moves, and all in English. They host pop-up discussions, dance parties, rap battles, poetry, and KaraJOke parties – all with good vibes and where everyone is everyone is welcome to join.
- Dutch Design Week – The largest design event in Northern Europe presents work and concepts from more than 2600 designers to more than 335000 visitors from home and abroad. The event takes place around the last week of October and is a nine-day event with exhibitions, workshops, seminars and parties at many venues. During this week Sectie-C, a tight organic community of more than 250 creative entrepreneurs artists, designers, musicians, communicators, and craftsmen open their doors to the public. It’s a unique experience to see and experience the workspaces of these Eindhoven creative such as the innovative work of Enrichers looking at the relation between physicality and emotions from up close. Tours are possible outside of Dutch Design Week if organized 4-6 weeks in advance. With no Pride taking place in Eindhoven, this is our favorite annual event to plan around to Eindhoven. You might also consider planning a trip to Eindhoven in August around such gay events as Milkshake Festival, Tilburg Pink Monday or Amsterdam Pride.
- Fifth – Keeping Eindhoven on its toes is this new concept destination opening in what was originally Eindhoven’s very first gas factory. Today a hip restaurant, jazz lounge, performance venue, and almost speakeasy bar are hidden in here offering a chic industrial design that is worth a visit alone. Open from breakfast til into the night, the vibe might change here but there is never a bad time to visit. Grab a cocktail, chill with live jazz or just enjoy a relaxing lunch in their sun-drenched terrace (weather permitting of course)…
- Kazerne Restaurant – An example of what Eindhoven does best – bringing together lots of different creatives in one venue. There’s an exhibition space showcasing world-class design and technology alongside a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that’s open to the gallery. It sounds slightly surreal but the experience – and the food – is incredible. The hotel here is also simply gorgeous.
- Piet Hein Eek Design Store And Restaurant – The celebrated Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek has taken this former Philips workshop and turned it into a haven of stylish design and sophisticated style. Stop by and you’ll find a showroom of designs, a shop, an art gallery, and a restaurant; it’s almost a mini-village of innovation. The colorful restaurant is a real highlight, full of the designer’s signature glossy recycled wood furniture and with a chandelier made of dozens of old lamps fused together. You’ll have to resist buying everything in the boutique shop – though the hefty price tags help as well.
- Van Abbe Museum – One of the city’s treasures, this museum of contemporary art was originally part of a private collection until being sold to the city council in the 1930s. Today the Van Abbe Museum has grown to include a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, installations and other works of art and has undertaken a modern extension complementing the red-brick museum building with its traditional, symmetrical architecture. The permanent exhibition at the Van Abbe Museum includes work by Picasso and Kandinsky, but there are always temporary exhibitions bringing their own personal touch to the art scene of Eindhoven. The café is an absolute must-visit as well (not that we’re always thinking about food, honest!). We are also obsessed with their recent work involving ‘Queering the Collection’ that is contributing to the visibility of the LGBTI heritage in the arts by reconsidering the narrative of existing artworks to explore everything that goes against the grain, is unexpected or fluid in terms of identity, sexuality, and politics particularly. Ask at the front desk for more information on this program – and how to access the new narratives of art pieces as understanding the subversive, personal and political implications of queering can totally transform your visit. As part of the project, there is now gender-neutral bathrooms and regularly organized queer activities such as queer book clubs and more.
- Down Town Gourmet Market – Since 2017 this hip food hall has brought a range of deliciousness to Eindhoven. There are 21 different eateries at the Down Town Gourmet Market to choose from – or 21 to try if you’re feeling brave! – with everything from Vietnamese noodles to tacos to sushi. Anyone who tells you that you can’t get good food in the Netherlands needs to be brought here because pretty much everything you try is amazing quality.
- Phillips Museum – The roots of this international corporation lies in Eindhoven, and the history of Eindhoven is intrinsically linked with Philips Electrics so it is no wonder that the Philips Museum is one of the most important sights in this City of Light. It’s not a huge museum but it packs a lot in – and in a much more interesting way than you’d expect from a museum that’s essentially about a family business! It’s fascinating to see how a business empire can grow from humble beginnings and to see how far the world has come in terms of electricity from that first lightbulb.
- Drag Up The Van Abbe Night – Part of the work to queer the collection at the Van Abbe but worthy of a mention in its own right. A next-level drag experience, with a series of themed monthly parties where you get to learn makeup techniques from drag divas, create your own drag persona, take selfies in front of the artwork, and hang with friends. Run by Maybe Boozegeoisie, an experienced drag queen who has been putting on underground drag parties since 2016, everyone is welcome here – no matter seasoned queen, first-timer or just those curious to learn more
- Intelligentia Taste Rooms – Not only the best ice cream in Eindhoven but arguably in the continent, this cute spot models itself more as a tasting bar for ice cream connoisseurs than your average ice cream parlor. An amazing range of flavors is on offer, from pandan cake to cinnamon to pistachio and truffle (yup, together!). It’s all about experimenting and the team here seem to have the attitude of: ‘if it exists, it probably tastes good as ice cream!’. The menu changes monthly and finds inspiration in the most bizarre of places (all flavors were named after Netflix Original series when we visited).
- MU Artspace – A trendy and varied art space that shines a spotlight on innovative art, design, pop culture, and media. The MU artspace’s proclaimed goal is to provide space for curiosity and discovery, and this it certainly does. Housed in a former industrial building (called ‘The White Lady’) with spacious rooms, concrete walls, and ceiling that ensure attention is focussed on the installations themselves. Exhibitions like 2019’s Computer Grrrls combine commentary technology, gender, and art to encourage conversation and reflection and are not to be missed.
- Sissy-Boy Eindhoven – A cool design store located in a futuristic-looking globe on Eindhovens main square so you can’t miss it. We originally visited due to the name (apparently inspired by Sisi of Vienna, not anything else) but loved the beautiful shop and restaurant, curved glass, views and clothing offerings. Worth a walkthrough, or a nice spot to drop in and enjoy coffee on furniture made by Piet Hein Eek.
Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in Eindhoven Netherlands
While basically every hotel in Eindhoven is friendly and welcoming to the LGBT community, there are some that make an exceptional effort to be part of gay Eindhoven.
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 their location and history and some hotels are just known as being exceptionally welcoming of gay guests. The following gay hotels in Eindhoven can all be relied on for an extraordinary stay in Eindhoven.
Fabulous Hotels in Eindhoven
- Kazerne ☆☆☆☆☆ – Housed in a former military barracks and a disused industrial warehouse, this modern design hotel, Kazerne, offers eight luxury rooms and suites, as well as a 2,500-square-meter exhibition space (with shows changing every four months). Intended from the ground up to celebrate the impact of design by plunging guests in an environment where they eat, drink, meet, and sleep surrounded by the recent works of world-class design talent. An Old World relic transmuted into a spectacular new contemporary hotel. Here at the Kazerne, tête-à-têtes about art and design are sparked in a private living room with a fireplace where guests can rally around the local creative community and enjoy a casual chat with one of the designers. All rooms here feature king-size or twin beds and offer views of the city or the courtyard. Many of the suites play host to a freestanding bathtub, a living room, a kitchenette, and a dining area, while the 140 square meter Penthouse Loft boasts a full kitchen and a dining/meeting table that seats eight. What better way to ensure you experience the extraordinary design scene of Eindhoven by 24/7 that with a stay at the Kazerne Hotel
- NH Collection Eindhoven Centre ☆☆☆☆☆ – A 5-star luxury hotel offering an exceptionally located in the heart of the city, making it an ideal base for business and leisure travelers. This metropolitan 14-floor hotel has 132 generously sized rooms, all freshly decorated in modern style and including modern hardwood floors and French balconies. There is also a compact gym and top floor restaurant + bar with a view over Eindhoven
- The Student Hotel Eindhoven ☆☆☆☆ – A sleek and modern hotel designed to entice a curious explorer’s mind. Steps away from the Eindhoven train station is this soaring 80-meter, 400-room, full-service hotel and co-living community for students, travelers, and professionals. There is a funky restaurant and bar, – an Eindhoven foodie hot spot – colorful rooms, gym and game room with table tennis and pool tables. The perfect quirky, designer stay to compliment your time in Gay Eindhoven.
- Design Hotel Glow ☆☆☆ – A charismatic and up-to-date hotel in the heart of Eindhoven with 40 well-equipped and contemporary hotel rooms. The amalgamation of the cozy ambiance and the motivated staff will guarantee that you really feel completely at home here. Design Hotel Glow has all the facilities you would expect from a current hotel such as free WiFI, breakfast and coffee and tea facilities in the rooms.
- Blue Collar Hotel ☆☆ – A perfect mix between nostalgia and rock & roll, perfectly hidden inside an old Philips factory in the booming Strijp-S area. Cold drinks, excellent meals and comfortable beds – all at affordable prices – are the appeal here, and for budget travelers there are large dorms with small price tags to help save some euros. For a fun mini-splurge book into their over-the-top burlesque suites or their Für Elise Room…
- Hotel the Match ☆☆☆ – Another eccentric hotel that aims to give you all the essentials for an enjoyable stay – and nothing more. This means Hotel the Match is not only affordable but actively encourages you to get out and explore the city. The rooms are modern with unpredictable design twists but all include fantastic beds because you won’t be able to drag yourself out of the Eindhoven nightlife before 4 am. There are loaner bikes and smartphones, a seriously cool industrial-chic vibe, helpful staff, and a 24/7 market lobby – but the concept here is truly to immerse yourself in Eindhoven…and no to waste time with hotel breakfasts when there are so many fabulous coffee shops and cafes right on your doorstep.
Gay Nightlife in Eindhoven
While Eindhoven might not be the gay nightlife capital of the world, there is still plenty to love here after the sun goes down.
Stratumsedijk is traditionally the pink street of Eindhoven, but in such an open and tolerant city you can also find a queer bar on the Stratumseind Party Street – and plenty of queer pop-ups/ take over events in otherwise ‘straight spaces’.
One party not to miss is those of the DayDayGay (DDG) if you are lucky enough to be visiting while they have an event planned, but even if not there is surely something for you here. Start in one of the quiet gay cafes then shift to all-night dancing under glittering disco balls later at night – and don’t forget to explore the open-to-all nightlife options here. Locals here don’t feel the need to hang exclusively in gay establishments and neither should you.
Silent discos, elegant rooftop terraces with skyline views, upscale craft beer breweries, and modern jazz bars are all there for the taking, and each filled with friendly Dutch patrons who are happy to indulge foreigners in a conversation. Exciting and freeing, the gay nightlife in Eindhoven has something for everyone!
Gay Bars & Parties In Eindhoven
- De Regenboog – The newest gay bar in Eindhoven offering a cozy space that celebrates diversity. Male, female, gay or straight – everyone can party here. De Regenboog consciously positioned at the beginning of the Stratumseind Party Street – sitting alongside ‘straight bars’ – a potent symbol of the equality and tolerance within this city, as opposed to joining Stratumsedijk, traditionally the pink street of Eindhoven. Inside, however, you can still expect all those fabulous gay cliches – lots of glitter, disco balls, mirrors, and queer themes. Oscillating from quiet cafe to wild nightlife destination, this gay bar is just like its patrons – free to be anything it wants. This is their second location, with the original being in Rotterdam.
- Café Genestho – A small gay gathering space with exceptional friendly owners, occasional live music and a loyal local following. Sit outside in the sun and watch the world go by, or grab a beer at the long bar and strike up a conversation.
- Pallaz – A Eindhoven gay bar known for its late-night dance floor, energetic atmosphere and crazy theme parties. A tried-and-tested institution with a 12-year history in the city, offering novel and fun parties most nights of the week with DJs, drag shows and plenty of camp spirt. Loud and incredibly proud, check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.
- Pand54 – A small LGBT cafe and meeting place for the queer support group, COC Eindhoven. A safe and accessible space with visitors are always made to feel welcome – no matter who they are. Open three nights a week, with three separate themes. There is a ‘sporty’ character on Tuesday evening, on Friday evenings it is a ‘Gay Meeting Café’ evening, traditionally aimed at young people and everyone who feels young and on Sunday afternoon there is the relaxed ‘Sunday Matinee’. They also host other important events including an Under 26 night every 2nd Saturday of the month, a Pink Salon for LGBT people aged 50 and over on the last Thursday of the month and a 40+ night on the third Sunday of every month. Other (ir)regular events take place to assisted LGBT asylum seekers and refugees, or those with autism or disabilities. COC Netherlands has been advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people since 1946 making it the oldest existing LGBT organization in the world – and we truly believe this is something to be supported!
- DayDayGay (DDG) – Outrageously fabulous queer pop-up events originally created to give homosexuality and queer-ness space at Dutch Design Week, but that has now taken on a life of its own. Underground parties, drag bingo, round-table discussions, dick pic photo booths and dildo displays (what, a dildo was also designed, right?) – you name it and this rebellious group has either done it or is probably planning to do it very soon. They have recently moved from Strijp-S to the TAC (Temporary Art Centre Eindhoven) given them even more space to break taboos, outrage, amaze and generally just show homosexuality in its full glory. Offering something different from the mainstream gay bars of Eindhoven, DDG represented a part of the queer spectrum that doesn’t have a permanent home in Eindhoven – which help to explain their amazing success so far. Look on their Facebook page for upcoming events – and know everyone is welcome here!
Gay-Friendly Hotspots In Eindhoven
- Mozem – A creative collective from Eindhoven based on friendship. Since 2015, they have been pulling off incredibly inclusive and open-to-all electronic parties that give you live and stimulate all your sense. With a stellar reputation for transforming entire locations for one-off events, from warehouse raves to beach parties – Mozem hosts bespoke events once every month or two that are not to be missed.
- Café 100 Watt – The tasting room of City Brewery / Stadsbrouwerij Eindhoven is the place to head for the ultimate beer experience at its source with 14 taps offering a variety of beers in different styles accompanied with delicious bites. For centuries Eindhoven had several beer breweries. However, they closed one by one and after the last brewery closed its doors in 1953 the city was left with, well Heineken probably, until Stadsbrouwerij Eindhoven opened its doors again. Not only is the beer incredible and the service wonderfully welcoming, but the interior is beautiful with oak floors and a wooden bar perfectly juxtapositioning the old factory building location. There is also an exceptional terrace on the banks of the Dommel which is positively humming in the winter months. The perfect place to start your night…
- RGB CAFE – Who doesn’t love a good silent disco, right? And now in Eindhoven, there is a permanent club offering just this Thursdays to Sunday. RGB is a three-channel Silent Disco party in which three different DJ teams compete against each other at the same time! You can switch between the channels of team Red, team Green and team Blue on your headphones. Now the name RGB makes sense, right? Want House, Hip-hop or Pop, can’t decide or have friends with different music tastes – well, now there is a solution.
- LAB-1 – Free-spirited and oh-so-typically Eindhoven this creative spot is, all at once, a club, a cinema, and café-bar. Lab-1 provides an experimental stage for movies, live music, exhibitions, visuals, DJs and events – by day and by night. Watch the best festival, indie, arthouse or Hollywood movies in one of their four movie theatres or pop into the event room for an unexpected concert. Want to dance? There are lively parties in the club on the second floor and relax and flop into a chair at one of their future film marathons on the next floor up. So much more than a cinema, prepare to be amazed.
- Bobby’s Bar – A hip and rustic bar with a specific focus on craft cocktails. The kind of place that makes you feel like you are in the know and part of the cool crowd. We recommend the Gin Tasting where you can sample a floral, a spicy and a fruity gin&tonic – or for something different why not sign up to one of their cocktail workshops in advance.
- Vane SkyBar – Located on the top two floors of one of the cities tallest towers with a panoramic view of the city center, Vane is the absolute highlight of a more refined Eindhoven nightlife experience. Chic, beautiful and intimate the cocktail come straight from the mind of internationally renowned bartender Tess Posthumus and are inspired by the directions of a weather vane: North, South, East & West… all of which you can from Vane’s dizzying height.
Gay Saunas in Eindhoven
Had enough of gay cruising in Eindhoven – either in the bars or elsewhere?
For those who want a bit more guaranteed action, there is are two gay saunas in Eindhoven… but luckily both are pretty good and should not disappoint you (unlikely all those faceless accounts on Grindr or the other hook up apps…). Foreigners are happily welcoming in the gay sauna of Eindhoven, and basically, everyone will speak English, but you’ll still need to be good at reading non-verbal cues.
Luckily we have our gay sauna guide to help you out!
- Sauna Tibet – The most popular gay sauna in Eindhoven, and one of the largest sauna saunas in the Benelux region, which draws in large crowds from the surrounding regions. Sauna Tibet is a completely renovated sauna complex which offers all the expected facilities, and a few unexpected, for you to have a fun afternoon or evening. Spacious, clean, relaxing and welcoming, there are three saunas, two hot tubs, a plunge pool and a large swimming pool for you to enjoy. No to mention the large bar with real fireplace, huge roof terrace, dark rooms, and solarium. Open daily from noon to 2 a.m with monthly promotion listed on their website, and quite popular with the younger crowd since there is a technical campus nearby.
- Sauna Bonaparte – A smaller and cozier gay sauna open daily from midday till midnight with a small bar and good facilities including a Finnish sauna; steam room; darkrooms, cinema and roof terrace. Every third Saturday of the month a Bears Night is organized together with ‘Beertjes’ where all bears, bearded men, and their enthusiasts are welcome.