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Dance, Drink and Shop
The Netherlands is of course an extremely welcoming country to gay travellers. As the first country in the world to introduce marriage equality, gay people living in and visiting the Netherlands are so well accepted and integrated that at first there might not seem to be much of a gay scene. Indeed, unlike many other cities, Amsterdam doesn’t strictly have a gaybouhrood: there’s no equivalent to Boystown in Chicago, Soho in London or Oxford Street in Sydney here. Nonetheless, there is still plenty aimed at the gay traveller visiting Amsterdam.
Probably the most important sight in Amsterdam that specifically has an LGBTQ slant is the Homomonument. Of course not only aimed at gay visitors, this significant and sombre monument on the Keizersgracht canal was the first of its kind in the world to commemorate all the lives of gay men and lesbians who suffered persecution under Nazism because of their sexual orientation. Take a moment here to remember and be inspired by those who fought.
Clubs, bars and cafés
Amsterdam is well-known for its clubbing scene, and of course any of the most famous ones such as Studio 80, Club Up or Trouw are going to be gay-friendly, but for a specifically queer crowd, try PRIK, an intimate bar that has a heaving dance party at weekends or Queers which regularly hosts drag shows. For something a bit earlier in the evening, try De Spijker, the city’s oldest gay bar that opens up as a café in the afternoons and offers a laid-back atmosphere. Another good option is Getto, a gay café, bar, restaurant and club all in one which hosts an impressive variety show every Thursday night and guest DJs at the weekend.
With its myriad independent boutiques, fashion labels and designers, Amsterdam can easily be considered something of a mecca for shopping-lovers, but it’s also home to several gay-specific shops selling unique and unusual items. Head to Mr B to get to know your inner rubber or leather fan and explore their range of high quality fetish gear and sex toys, which are presented in a friendly, inviting environment: staff will likely even invite you to sit and have a coffee while discussing the best item for you.
For some more than just a sex shop, check out Gays & Gadgets, a friendly business that sells all the usual sex toys (as well as some more unusual ones) plus fun but essential pride items such as rainbow flags, badges and glitter guns. It’s also a great place to come for some silly gifts for all your best gay or straight friends: how about a fancy lube dispenser or a penis baking form for the kitchen? Finally, don’t miss Vrolijk, a cute little bookshop in Binnenstad, this place sells a wide range of fascinating gay literature, including comics, travel guides, books on health, coming out and parenting. They also have an extensive offbeat and mainstream movie selection as well as plenty of art and photography books and magazines.
Here you find our hotels in Amsterdam.