Gay Amsterdam Travel Guide

Amsterdam is a very gay-friendly city. Numerous historic pubs, stylish cafés and trendy nightclubs can be found in Reguliersdwarsstraat and Kerkstraat.
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Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations on the European gay scene. The city is very tolerant and boasts a vibrant nightlife animated by a hundred gay-friendly bars, boat parties, discos, restaurants and saunas.

The main gay areas in Amsterdam are located around the Rembrandtplein square, in particular along Reguliersdwarsstraat, Halvemaansteeg, in the Amstel area, and along Warmoesstraat, the street parallel to Damrak, near the red light district, Kerkstraat, Zeedijk and Vondelpark.

These areas are full of shops, interesting buildings, cafés, good restaurants and hotels including Orpheus, Amsterdam’s largest exclusively gay hotel, in Leidseplain.

The most famous clubs in Amsterdam’s gay scene are NYX in Reguliersdwarstsraat, RAPIDO, with crowded parties with great DJs and wonderful dancers (it is recommended to buy tickets in advance), and The Warehouse.

Finally, the Homomonument is an anti-discrimination memorial built in 1987 in the centre of Amsterdam. The monument, consisting of three pink granite triangles forming a larger triangle, is located near the Westerkerk Church and the Anne Frank House on the bank of the Keizersgracht canal.

Amsterdam Gay Pride

Amsterdam Gay Pride is a festival celebrating the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) and held annually in the centre of Amsterdam during the first weekend in August. The festival, organised by Stichting Amsterdam Gay Pride, attracts several thousand visitors and is one of the largest publicly held annual events in the Netherlands. Amsterdam Gay Pride is also known as Europride, as it is the largest gay event held in Europe.

Amsterdam Gay Pride was first organised in 1996 as a celebration of freedom and diversity. This is a very important ideological concept, to which the founders are very attached; in fact, the festival was not created, as is the case with other gay events, with the aim of claiming equal rights.

Festival events

The festival usually lasts for a week, during which events are organised involving the entire LGBT community; these range from sport to exhibitions and cultural displays. There are also street festivals in the areas of Reguliersdwarsstraat, Zeedijk, Warmoesstraat and Amstel, typically the neighbourhoods most frequented by the gay community.

In Rembrandtplein, on the other hand, the closing party is organised, held on the very same day as the canal parade, exactly at the end of the latter. Here in the same square, throughout the festival, there is also the official information point, set up with the aim of giving information about the various events and to facilitate visitors’ stay, allowing them to book hotels and hostels directly from the stand.

The Canal Parade

The most anticipated moment of the festival is the parade along the city’s canals, known by its English name Canal Parade; it consists of a series of boats that during the first Saturday of August cross Amsterdam’s canals, usually starting along the Prinsengracht at the Westerdok harbour at 1.30 p.m., passing under the Magere Brug and ending at Oosterdok.

On a route about 6 kilometres long, there is a chance for any visitor to enjoy the event to the full. Crowds gather along the banks of the canals and watch the parade with spirit and participation.

It is possible to participate in the Canal Parade with your own boat, but only 80 boats are allowed. To apply, you have to fill in the application form on the official website, and during the month of March the organisation chooses the 80 that will be eligible to participate.

The best vantage point for the parade

The route of the Canal Parade is several kilometres long, so there is no best observation point in the strict sense of the word. For great photos the best spots are on the sides of the bridges, but you have to get there well in advance, even several hours before the parade starts, to find a spot. The symbolic photo of the Canal Parade is the one taken so as to also frame the Magere Brug.

How to save on transport and entrance fees

City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.

Amsterdam: City Card with Free Entrance & Public Transport
Amsterdam: City Card with Free Entrance & Public Transport
Discover Amsterdam with the official I amsterdam City Card. Visit world-class museums and attractions for free, get unlimited access to Amsterdam's public transport, and enjoy a free canal cruise.
From 60,00 €