Welcome to Amsterdam
Amsterdam not only has a gay monument it manages to be the gay capital without being a gay ghetto. Amsterdam has long been the capital of tolerance and has had successive waves of refugees as far back as the fifteenth century. And judging by the surnames of most of its citizens, it is probably Europe's true rainbow city even though it is one of Europe's smallest with only some 750 000 residents.
The capital of Europe's first republic is pretty unique in the world and offers the sex tourist as well as the cultural tourist something unforgettable. The city is still the only one in the world with an enlightened "soft drugs" policy and you can buy your favourite marijuana from a menu at any of the hundreds of "coffee shops" in and around the capital.
There is so much to do and see regardless of what the season is, but should you visit in summer you will be delighted by the beaches at Zandfoort, about twenty minutes by train, because two of the city's most popular gay clubs has a beach presence in the form of a bar and café.
The city has a dual sexual character and the "vanilla" scene exists quite comfortably side by side to the sleazy scene, the latter of which can also experienced during the day.
The Warmoesstraat area represents the darker side which is where you will find the leather bars, clubs, shops and cinemas. The leather scene is very retro and you may find yourself in a twilight zone that will transport you back to the early seventies. Some of the men in these places still dress up in plad shirts and tight jeans, sometimes even with moustaches.
The "vanilla" scene caters for those who do not necessarily want to have sex on the spot and who prefer a drink or a meal. The Reguliersdwars is for those with more traditional tastes. This part of town boasts no fewer than eight bars, clubs and restaurants and even a few shops that sell sexy underwear and other toys for boys.
The third gay section is Kerkstraat which is where most of the gay-owned and gay-friendly hotels are. The area also houses two of Amsterdam's three saunas. They have aptly been named Thermos Day and Thermos night, so you can lie in the steam around the clock!
It is generally quite easy to identify gay-owned businesses because there all have a rainbow flag outside.
Amsterdam was the first city in the world to get their own gay monument, "Homomonument", made of pink granite with a line from a gay Dutch novelist from the turn of the century etched across it ("such a measureless yearning for friendship" - Jacob De Haan). The monument is right next to the Westerkerk, near Anne Fank House. Of course no gay monument would be complete without a gay tourist kiosk next to it, which is where you will find info on absolutely anything queer.
The city a few years ago hosted the Gay Games and later this year the Amsterdam gay pride parade will take place on the city's canals, where else?
You can find safer sex information all over the city, especially at gay and lesbian venues and usually in at least six languages. It will probably surprise you that the average Dutchman/woman speaks four languages!
Amsterdam is not as expensive as other European cities and is very gay tourist friendly which makes it pretty unique place in the world.
Amsterdam undoubtedly is one of the jewels of Europe, and not just because of the stunning 17th century canals. Incredible examples of modern architecture are omnipresent, and did you know that Amsterdam boasts more museums per m2 than any other European capital? Go find out for yourself!
Amsterdam is a unique and picturesque city of 165 canals and over 1,200 bridges. There's so much to explore here, by foot, bike or canal boat. Famous museums like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. A 'must visit' is the Anne Frank House and museum. Amsterdam has been called "The gay way to Europe" and the city is certainly one of the most liberal cities for gay and lesbian travelers.
Amsterdam Gay Accommodation
Amsterdam's gay and lesbian hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfast options are some of the best to be found anywhere in Europe. Amsterdam also offers 'specifically themed' gay accommodations for the leather fraternity. So when it comes to choice, whether price, amenities or themed accommodation, the gay and lesbian traveler has plenty to choice from.
Amsterdam is quite small and you can go walking to most gay bars, clubs and saunas. The center of Amsterdam is Dam square.
From Dam it's about a 10 minute walk to the gay area with the trendy bars, located on Reguliersdwarsstraat and Amstel. You will find many hotels here.
If you are more interestd in the cruise bars and leather bars you should stay near Dam / Central Station.