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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Amsterdam article click DailyXtraTravel
Earlier this year, dozens of demonstrators wearing shocking-pink wigs
stormed out of a church in Holland. Their grievance? The week before, a
local priest had denied communion to an openly gay man.
The Dutch Catholic Church backed down immediately, saying it
would no longer judge whether gays were worthy. If that's hard to
imagine happening in the US, it's because they do things differently in
This is a live-and-let-live kind of place, which explains why it
was the first country to allow same-sex marriage. 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.
What does this refreshing attitude mean for gays? You won't find
police roughing up gays in the cruising spots; in fact, one local park,
De Oeverlanden, actually has signs pointing to the cruisiest section.
As far as nightlife goes, there are plenty of cozy cafes,
lounges and dance clubs for every taste. You can be as wild as you want
with live sex shows, backroom cruising or group gropes at naked
parties. Circuit parties roll into town for gay holidays, especially
Pride Day, Queen's Day, and leather events in the fall.
Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport is several kilometers from
the city center. Speedy direct trains cost a few euros and depart from
the airport every 10 minutes.
The bicycle is the favored mode of transportation, with designated
lanes along many streets. Watch them whiz past, or join them; bikes can
easily be rented. Public trams and trains are frequent and convenient.
They don't run all night, but few nightspots will be far from your
hotel room. A discount strip card, sold at stations and convenience
stores, is inexpensive and valid throughout the Netherlands.
For most leather and sex bars, check out the Warmoesstraat and
Nieuwezijds Kolk areas, where you'll find them amidst the coffeeshops,
porn stores and take-out eateries.
Where Warmoesstraat meets the Zeedijk, picturesque gay pubs draw
sexually mixed crowds, from the maturely sophisticated to the young and
On streets leading to Rembrandtplein from the Amstel canal,
there are some lively local gay bars.
A block south of the flower market, Reguliersdwarsstraat is
lined with many bars, restaurants and shops. On summer nights, this
pedestrian street fills with young gays.
Bent Guide offers colorful critiques of "everything not straight in
Gay Krant is in Dutch, but you'll be able to figure out a
lot of the contents. Grab a free Gaymap from almost anywhere to find
your way around the city.
Gay News and
Gay & Night magazines are in
Dutch and English, each with maps and nightly events.
Koninginnedag, on April 30, 2010, celebrates the Queen's birthday as streets line with people, canals bob with boats and circuit
parties throb. Open-air concerts are generally free to the public.
The Reguliersdwarsstraat and Amstel areas and the Roze Wester Festival
at Westerkerk draw big gay crowds.
Memorial Day, held each year on May 4, includes a gay ceremony at the
Amsterdam Gay Pride is a weekend of partying in the bars and the
streets, featuring the world's only gay Canal Parade on the
Prinsengracht and the Amstel river. See their website for events August 5 to 8, 2010.
Amsterdam Leather Pride Weekend will be held October 28-31, 2010, with celebrations at all leather venues. Specific event details will be posted to their website as they take shape.
Hotel (Kerkstraat 42; 20-622-
9997) helpful and efficient service, stylish rooms, luxurious apartments, all with computers, breakfast to 1pm, afternoon/evening internet cafe, gay mags and maps.
Bear (Kerkstraat 14; 20-627-
0164) comfortable gay guesthouse in 1737 buildings, spacious rooms, breakfast until noon, helpful reception staff.
NL (Nassaukade 368; 20-689-
design hotel overlooking Singel canal, casually sophisticated ambience,
breakfast, full amenities include cable TV and internet access.
Triple Five Guesthouse (Prinsengracht 555; 31 20 428-3809) two comfortable private rooms overlooking the canal, convenient to museums, shopping and gay nightlife.
Near Warmoesstraat/Central Station
Hotel (O.Z. Voorburgwal 55; 20-
624-1126) canal-side lodging just for
men, cruisy halls, internet access, breakfast in the bar, gay mags and maps.
Barangay B&B (Droogbak 15; 62-504-5432) relaxed comfort from two friendly guys, 1777 era building near Central Station by Singel & Prinsengracht canals.
Tulip (Geldersekade 16; 20-427-
0993) the 'leather Ritz
Carlton,' close to Central Station.
Amsterdam Boutique Apartments (Singel 401; 20-707-7954), at Spui between Dam and Reguliersdwarsstraat gay clubs, style, comfort and privacy in monumental canal house, five-star amenities.
Blue Moon (Singel 401; 20-428-8800) central location opposite the Rijksmuseum, two rooms, enhanced amenities, en-suite baths, in-room or roof terrace breakfast.
Amsterdam B&B (Roetersstraat 18; 20 624-0174 ), SE central Plantage neighborhood by Amstel River, private suites, separate entrance, from 90 euros.
Hotel de L'Europe (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14; 20-531-1777) quality classic hotel, luxury and elegance, fine dining, perfect location overlooks Munt Tower, stroll to shops, museums, gay nightlife.
Hotel (Prinsengracht 1051; 20-
623-0230) small 20 room hotel, 18th-century house on quiet stretch of Amsterdam's grandest canal. Breakfast buffet until noon.
Hotel (Marnixstraat 386; 20-
7511) cozy, gay-friendly old house, fifteen single, double and triple rooms, named for flowers, all with bath and TV.
Blu (Rusland 17; 20-623-1231)
large, modern, central hotel, fitness facilities for sauna, workout, or tan, concierge services, secure parking.
Sasenfras Hostel (Utrechtsedwarsstraat 79; Radioinn.nl) art gallery and dorm
on tramline, off-season beds from 15 euros, lockers, no curfew, internet access.
HERE for links to these and other room options.
Bars: Leather and Sex
For most leather and sex bars, check
the Warmoesstraat and
Nieuwezijds Kolk areas, where you'll
find them amidst the coffee shops,
porn stores, and take-out eateries.
check out the leather shops on
either side of the Damrak.
(Warmoesstraat 95) local favorite of
leather lovers and
(Warmoesstraat 96) dark, hot bar and
disco with sex
shows, jack-off parties, naked nights,
big dick discounts.
Dick's (Warmoesstraat 86)
the 'Sleaze Pit,'
darkroom, cubicles, golden-shower
parties last Thursday of the month.
(Warmoesstraat 90) pool table,
cubicles, Sunday fisting events, busy
Nest (Nieuwezijds Kolk 6) big
place, fully equipped SM
cellar, videos, cabins, busy night and
(Jacobsstraat 4-6) venerable leather
bar, roof garden, 'not
too dark' darkroom, earlier cruising,
Where Warmoesstraat meets the Zeedijk,
ornate, picturesque gay pubs
draw sexually mixed crowds, maturely
sophisticated to young and artsy.
De Barderij (Zeedijk 14) hip
vibe, mixed crowd, romantic
pub popular Sunday evening.
t Mandje (Zeedijk 63)
popular for many years, reopened during the Queen's Day celebrations this past year, looking much as it always did.
Engel van Amsterdam (Zeedijk
high-energy cafe and pub packed with shirtless men, canal-side
seating on terrace.
(Warmoesstraat 51) bar and restaurant,
specialty cocktails, exotic beverages, free internet.
Head (Zeedijk 20) beautiful
interior, canal views,
popular for their exuberant variety of
On streets leading to Rembrandtplein
from the Amstel River there are
some lively local bars. See
Amstelpodium.nl about the Pride Weekend
Fifty Four (Amstel 54) lively
happy hours and late nights,
tourists mix easily with locals, summer
(Reguliersdwarsstraat) tiny but lively
bar, diverse crowd mixes with casual
129) diverse crowd, tropical
setting, hip-moving music from warmer
Rouge (Amstel 60) mature
Nous (Halve Maansteeg 14) mixed
bar, gayer as nearby bars
Roque (Amstel 178) open
Wednesday to Sunday for cocktails
Wapen van London (Amstel 14)
favored by Czech expats.
Spot (Amstel 102) young crowd,
mixed, open late.
Cafe (Amstel 50), draws men and
(Halve Maansteeg 17) good daily happy
later, young locals, old Dutch
Box (Paardenstraat 9) East
European youths accept drinks
and other offers -- watch your drink at
this hustler bar.
(Utrechtsestraat 4) bends gender with
live shows, theme
nights, nightly events.
(Amstelstraat 7) tiny corner bar and
intense crush of young women, popular
late weekend nights.
A block south of the flower market,
Reguliarsdwarsstraat is lined with
many bars, restaurants, and shops. On
summer nights this pedestrian
street fills with young gays. See
Reguliers.net for the many events.
(Reguliersdwarsstraat 37) closed for
renovations, to debut
(Regulierdwarsstraat 44) spacious,
ultra-modern lounge where
dance crowd gathers early.
Soho (Reguliersdwarsstraat 36)
spacious old-time pub,
three-story interior has ornate wood
(Reguliersdwarsstraat 42) four-story
bars, mostly men, cruisy darkroom,
Church (Kerkstraat 52) nightly
theme events, including naked,
leather, rubber, bears, piss and
Ana (Lange Leidedwarsstraat 93)
a little Istanbul in
(Kerksstraat 4) beer busts, big-jackpot
bingo, pool table, backroom, darkroom, porn and cartoons
Cafe 't Sluisje (Torensteeg 1) bar, restaurant, with drag song, three course dinner shows.
Stereo (Jonge Roelensteeg 4)
weekend late-night dance club near
the Dam, young crowd.
(Nieuwezijds Kolk 25-27) Saturday dance
(Spuisstraat 109) bar and cafe, just
Dam Square, frisky
young crowd, popular on weekends.
Bars: Outside the
Trut (Bilderdijkstraat 165)
basement dance party on Sunday
fills up fast, young crowd, cheap
fashionable restaurant/dance club in
old newspaper building.
Sauna (Raamstraat 33) five-
complex, free cabins, pool,
gym, bar and lounge, hot tub, theater,
sun deck, shop and restaurant
with dinner nightly. Great Sunday
Prostitution is legal and regulated in
Amsterdam. Many websites offer
attractive young men. There's one club
with a no-cover bar/lounge where
you can mingle before getting down to
Club 21 (Spuisstraat 21)
handsome, sensual guys, ready and
willing. Wednesday and weekend strip
shows. Rates set by the house.
These escort services generally
operate between 1pm and 1am.
Club 21, (020-622-8828) guys
seen at their club of the same
Only (020-626-9468), mainly
locals, ages 18-22.
Fantasy Escort (020-626-9468)
more experienced guys.
Muscle Escort (020-622-8036)
muscular men, ages 22-40.
Escorts (People.nl) ages 18-35,
'any place, any time,
anywhere.' Pay web site features
Nieuwe Meer (Anton Schleperspad)
day and night, can be muddy,
sometimes attracts gay bashers.
Vondelpark (near Leidseplein) day
and night, at the rose garden
in the center of the park.
Oosterpark (by Tropenmuseum)
cruisy after sunset, park gets very
dark, popular with local Arab guys.
(Lijnbaansgracht 236, near Leidseplein;
gay-friendly art-house cinema with
screenings in original languages
de Munt (Vijzelstraat 15)
international classic gay movies
every first Wednesday 9pm. Admission
Eating out in Amsterdam is an
as varied in flavors as the
residents and foreign tourists alike
with creative chefs and every
cuisine imaginable. Some gay favorites follow. Click
HERE for others chosen for being central, acclaimed, unusual and/or good but inexpensive.
(Reguliersdwarsstraat 44) big and
trendy, fun finger food.
31) handy location,
busy inside and outside for lunch.
Queen (Reguilersdwarsstraat 27)
everything made with
healing and aromatic garlic, including
(Warmoesstraat 51) 'serving hungry
since 1996,' home
cooking, cuisines from Louisiana to
Paris, Sunday brunch.
Temple (Utrechtsestraat 126)
cuisine, many vegan options.
Modder (Oude Waal 11) French
Italian food with an
Asian twist; 'heavenly mud' is
47-49) Caribbean fusion
restaurant, tropical cocktails, salsa
and merengue music.
6) friendly gay coffeeshop,
pre-rolled hash, potent pot, munchies,
(Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 5a) exotic safari
crocodile, zebra, antelope; also
(Reguliersdwarsstraat 5), authentic
restaurant, inexpensive wine list,
Leeuwtje (Torensteeg 1) drag
show dining with two seatings.
(Jonge Roelensteeg 21) reclining
DJs, fun cast of characters, five-
course set meals.
(Keizergracht 49) gay-
friendly vibe, canal-side terrace.
Church (Kerkstraat 52) erotic
events include Ladz fetish
June 27 and August 29.
Monday night men-only sex parties.
terrain, Neveritaweg 15) fetish party,
hardcore to the max, second Sunday of
On Fridays Spui Square fills with
bookseller stands from far and
Bookshop (Spui 14) titles in
Vrolijk Gay & Lesbian
Bookshop (Paleisstraat 135)
extensive Dutch and English selection,
academic works, art-house
(Spuisstraat 251) male-oriented store
international book and DVD selection
(Reguliersdwarsstraat 59) club fashions
64) dress to impress when you
hit the clubs.
& Gadgets (Spuistraat 44)
gay-theme cards and art.
Point (Keizersgracht at
Westermarkt) gay and lesbian
information kiosk near the Homomonument
with tips and souvenirs.
A world center for leather clothing and
equipment, Amsterdam has
top-notch stores and services. Look
first to the heart of the leather
scene under the black-and-blue flags in
B (Warmoesstraat 89) fine
leather/rubber retail store,
accessories, toys, piercing, tattooing,
B (Van der Madeweg 5b) like the
store, but for traders, shop owners
Body (Lijnbaansgracht 292)
rubber socks to body bags, good
prices on jeans, chaps, shirts,
Leathers (Warmoesstraat 71)
famous leather maker's flagship
custom-made items and accessories.
& Rik Leermakers (Runstraat
30) tailor-made jackets,
pants, caps, shirts, fast made-to-
Amsterdam is a center for gay sex shops
and cinemas with wide
selections, on-site screenings,
and DVD rentals.
(Spuisstraat 21) gay porn videos for
many tastes, theater,
darkroom, cabins, sex toys,
Cinema (Warmoesstraat 92)
magazines, screenings, cabins,
Video and Bookshop/Cinema
(Kerkstraat 53, near Leidseplein)
magazines, books, DVD sales/rentals,
video cabins, internet.
(Damrak 61) magazines and videos, peep
Salon (Nieuwendijk 20-22)
of things to read and watch,
peep booths, glory holes.
The many gay sports teams include
Gay Swim Amsterdam, and the Gay Rugby Club.
Marnixplein 1) has mixed male nude swimming on Tuesdays 9-10:45pm (for eye candy, not sex).
Fitnessclub (Looiersgracht 26-
30) is a gay-popular gym where
you flex more than the love muscle.
Canal boat hires or bicycle tours over
hundreds of miles of well-marked
paths can get you around or beyond the
big city. Trains are the most convenient
and inexpensive way to get to
Delft, a small medieval town with
canal-lined streets, is famous
for its blue-and-white ceramics.
Gouda has cheese and the St
Janskerk Church with its amazing
Den Haag is the seat of
government and has its own classy
Keukenhof Gardens, near Leiden,
is the world's largest garden.
Maastricht, an old Roman town
sandwiched between Germany and
Belgium, has a charming old quarter and
lively cosmopolitan feel.
Rotterdam, a dynamic metropolis,
buzz with the North Sea Jazz
Festival. The Curacao Festival will be July 9-11, 2010. See their website for performers and more dates.
Zandvoort has a nude beach to the west of the more family-friendly downtown beach.