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Gay Travel Guide to Amsterdam 2014
On first impressions, Amsterdam is a quaint old city with historic houses perched alongside canals. Yet upon further investigation, you'll find that Amsterdam is actually on the cutting edge with its modern architecture, world-renowned diamond houses and liberated attitudes.

Amsterdam is definitely "gay friendly" and like London it is a case of live and let live. Amsterdam has a lot to offer gays, from the Reguliersdwarsstraat to the Warmoesstraat to the Amstel/Rembrandtjplein area. Then there's the Homomonument, the world's first memorial erected in honour of persecuted homosexuals.

But even more so, Amsterdam has much to offer any tourist seeking a memorable journey. The city is known for its impressive museum collections, fine restaurants and vibrant nightlife. The country is known for its beautiful scenery and magnificent flowers. Hiking and biking trails can be found everywhere. There's literally something for everyone in this delightful country. April 30 is the birthday of the queen-mother of Holland, Queen Juliana, and it has remained the official Queens Day in her honor. Gays from around the world have adopted this day of celebration and come to Amsterdam to celebrate. In honor of the occasion, the city center is closed to traffic to allow for many street markets, music, food stands and a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere. April is also the height of the tulip season, making for a spectacular time to visit the land of windmills.

Getting There

Cheap FlightsGiven the current competition amongst airlines resulting in cheap prices, we'd recommend flying to Amsterdam (journey time approx. 1 hour). Most British airports now have regular flights to Schiphol. For cheap flights Easyjet or Ryanair which fly out of Luton and Stanstead airports respectively. Even Thomas Cook are offering cheap flights to Amsterdam. Alternatively you could travel by Eurostar from Waterloo via Brussels. If you're on a budget, cheap coach travel is always available.

When flying to Amsterdam you will arrive at Schiphol airport. The best way to get into the centre of Amsterdam is to take the train to Amsterdam Central Station (indicated as Amsterdam CS). The train station is within the Airport building and is clearly signpost. Trains normally leave from Platform 2, cost around just a few euros and the journey takes about 20 minutes. You can also take a taxi from the Airport although this is a more expensive option costing around £30/£40. If you don't know your way around when you arrive at Central Station we suggest you take a taxi to you hotel.

Getting Around:

Amsterdam has three gay centres - Reguliersdwarsstraat - home to largest number of trendy bars and cafes, Warmoesstraat close to the red light district for the leather and cruise bars and the Amstel/Rembrandtjplein area all with about a mile of each other. Don't bother hiring a car. Amsterdam is all narrow streets, and canals and parking is very difficult. The local population ride bicycles or use the cheap and efficient tram servce. Apart fom using a taxi to drop your cases off at the hotel we suggest exploring the city on foot as most areas are within easy walking distance.

Tourist landmarks:

Anne Frank House, Van Gogh museum, Rijksmuseum

Eating Out

We eat at a couple of the steak houses situated just off Leidersplein where the food was excellent. Just look out for the busiest restaurants should give you some idea of how good the food is. If you remember to eat it is worth getting a table around 8pm as the restaurants all tend to finish serving around 10.30/11. There are plently are late night snack bars around if you get the "munchies" after a night's boozing.

Annual Events

King's Day - Saturday 26th April 2014. Formally Queens Day until her abdication in 2013.

The day is celebrated with gay street parties on the Amstel river, the Reguliersdwarsstraat, and the Roze Wester festival at the Homomonument.

Canal Pride: First Saturday of August.

Location: Prinsengracht, Amstel river. This is Amsterdam's "Gay Pride Event" In this spectacular parade all kinds of boats/floats will cruise around Amsterdam's most canals. Around 250,000 normally attend this event. The boats meet at 12 noon at the Westerdok, from where the parade will begin at 2pm. The route is: Westerdok, Korte Prinsengracht, the whole of the Prinsengracht, Amstel, Zwanenburgwal, Oudeschans and finishes at the Oosterdok.

Summary

Amsterdam is an ideal place for a short weekend break. The city, the architecture and the canals all very picturesque and small enough for you to be able to walk around. Trams and bicycles taking the place of cars is a real blessing. As well as the official gay hotels there is plently of superb hotel accommodation as Amsterdam is a major tourist destination The scene although not as large as London is still very good, especially the bars and saunas. Amsterdam is definately gay friendly. Shopping is good and prices compare favourably compared to London. The atmosphere is relaxed possibly due to the coffee shops and we've always enjoyed our visits there.

This overview of Gay Amsterdam is compiled from a british tourist perspective. Although not all encompasing we hope you find it useful and welcome any constructive comments, updates etc.

If you're visiting Amsterdam this year let us know how you get on.

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Amsterdam Gay Scene

Gay Bar / Club Scene:

Given our hotel location we usually ended up along Reguliersdwarsstraat visiting the many bars. Soho is a large traditional styled but modern bar on two levels. Very cruisy at weekends. Aprils with it famous rotating bar is now closed. Bar Dvars (formally Bar Arc) is ultra modern cocktail bar in its design, very swish packed to the rafters with "trendy" lads. There is also a very good restaurant situated at the rear of the venue. Club NYX (formally Exit Club)(Reguliersdwarsstraat, Nr 42) is worth checking out though, a good dancefloor, cafe bar and a dark room for the adventurous.

Anyone familiar with the London gay scene is bound to be slighty disappointed by the small scale of the Amsterdam club scene. The London club scene is infinitely larger and more diverse, however there is a lot more to Amsterdam than just gay clubs. The are also many bars situated along Warmoesstraat including the Cockring. We spent a very pleasant afternoon drinking and people watching in Remplantplatz follow by more booze in De Amstel Taverne, a small traditional bar playing cheesy pop and classic tracks.

Drugs: As you probably know The Netherands has a fairly liberal policy of drugs. However there is an important distinction between so called soft drugs (marijuhana, hash) and a hard drugs (coke, speed, ecstacy, LSD, etc). Soft drugs are tolerated and Amsterdam has so called "coffeshops" where one can buy and smoke these if you wish. Hard drugs like ecstasy and cocaine are just as illegal in Holland as anywhere else. If you decide to wander round the Red Light district you are constantly pestered by people flogging "drugs" Don't risk your money, you're just get ripped off.

 

Some of the more popular gay friendly venues in Amsterdam
Lunchroom Downtown
Reguliersdwarsstraat nr. 31, 1017 BJ Amsterdam
Tel: +31 (0)20 3209108
Lunchroom Downtown, Amsterdam

Downtown is a small lunchroom and coffee bar (so not a coffeeshop where soft drugs are sold). This place has always been very popular by a whole range of people.

The interior is small, but light and cosy, and on the walls you can see exhibitions of modern art. During summertime there is a great sunny terrace in front of the building, as well as in the street aside. Above the lunchroom is Edwin's Guesthouse with two rooms, where you can stay during a visit to Amsterdam.

Website: Lunchroom Downtown

Bar Dvars
Reguliersdwarsstraat nr. 44, 1017 BM Amsterdam
 
Dvars, Amsterdam

Formallly Bar Arc, Dvars is a big bar, run by Andrew Nicholls and is specialised in fantastic cocktails, great wines and gin tonics. High quality snacks meal are available upto one hour before closing. There is also a separate smoking room.

Expect professional service and personal attention from the staff to make you feel comfortable and the music is so loud that you can't have a decent conversation.

Opening times: Monday & Tuesday - Closed, Wednesday & Thursday - 16:00 until 01:00
Friday & Saturday - 16.00 until 03.00, Sunday - 16:00 until 01:00

Website: Bar Dvars

Club NYX
Reguliersdwarsstraat nr. 42, 1017 BM Amsterdam
Club NYX
The former Exit Club has been revamped into Club NYX, with a completely new interior and named after the Greek goddess of the night.

The new club is a gay venue, but also more accessible for straight people, so gays can take their straight friends with them. It's be a place where everybody is welcome, whether gay or straight, male or female. On three floors, changing themes, spectacular performances and various music styles, will make NYX a constantly changing, evolving and surprising club. The overall drive is to have fun: drinking, dancing, laughing, watching and talking!

Opening times: Thursday from 23.00-04.00, Friday from 23.00-05.00
Saturday from 23.00-05.00 (every first Saturday of the month we will be open till 9am)

Website: www.clubnyx.nl, Email info@clubnyx.nl

Taboo Bar
Reguliersdwarsstraat nr. 45, 1017 BK Amsterdam
+31 020-7753963
Taboo Bar, Amsterdam

Taboo is a cozy modern gay bar, which attracts a mixed crowd of people: gay and straight, young and old, locals and tourists.


The bar has two floors, with large video screens showing the best classic and newest video clips. Upstairs there are some more seatings and also a big and comfortable smoking area with a great street view.

Website: www.taboobar.nl

 
Prik
Spuistraat 109 1012 SV Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 320 0002

PRIK is fun, friendly and comfortable very popular gay bar. Open 7 days a week from 16:00 and the environment changes with the mood of the moment. From a relaxing loungy bar where you can sip a cocktail and nibble on our snacks to a bouncing party place with great DJ’s at the weekends.

PRIK is open 7 days per week from 16:00h. During the week till 1:00am and on Friday and Saturday till 3:00am.

Website: www.prikamsterdam.nl, Email: prikpost@prikamsterdam.nl Map
Reguliersdwarsstraat 42, 1017 BM, Centrum Grachtengordel
  A gay bar in camp Apres Ski style - predominantly male though women admitted - that caters to a trendy young public, and can get cruisey on weekends.
Reguliersdwarsstraat nr. 36, 1017 BM Amsterdam
Soho is one of the biggest gay bars of Amsterdam and has a great classic style interior with fine wooden panelling, mirrors and a fire place. Through a stately staircase you go to the first floor, where there's a second bar and a 'library'.
- Since the re-opening in March 2011 this venue also has a dance floor and a separate smoking area upstairs.
- Soho is visited by a wide variety of gay and straight people, many of them youngsters and gay tourists from all over the world.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Mega club event that takes place around 4 times a year


UK Gay Travel Home
Amsterdam gay friendly Hotels & Guesthouses

Accommodation / Gay friendly hotels

As we mentioned previously the are many hotels in Amsterdam. Many are located close to Central Station or within the central part of the city or close to the gay scene. As well as staying in one or two of the "gay" hotels we've stayed a couple of times in the Crowne Plaza American Hotel which we can thoroughly recommend for its excellent location and fabulous cocktails. Click here deals on Amsterdam hotels. Like the UK, it is illegal for any hotel in Amsterdam to refuse a gay couple. Amsterdam and Holland in general is known for it liberal attitude to many things.

Here is a list of some of Amsterdam's gay hotels. Most of the hotels have their own websites enabling you to get a better view of what's on offer. Most are within easy reach or the gay scene.


Kerkstraat 42, Amsterdam City , 1017 GM Amsterdam

Tel: +31 20 6248074
Amistad Hotel, Amsterdam
Amistad Hotel, AmsterdamThis popular gay hotel is located only steps away from the famous Club Church, Cafe Bump and Bar Spijker and Leidse Square. Breakfast is available until 13:00 in the afternoon. The renovated rooms of Amistad hotel are decorated with fresh colours and offer a PC with free internet access. There are coffee and tea facilities and a flat-screen TV.

Breakfast is served in the Dutch-kitchen breakfast room. Amistad also offers a fax service, prepaid mobile phones and a laundry service. You can ask for extra pillows and blankets. The Prinsengracht tram stop is only steps away and offers easy access to Amsterdam Central Station and further districts. Amsterdam's gay street, the Reguliers Dwarsstraat, is a 5-minute walk away.

"Gay Hotel / Gay Friendly"

Check availability and discount prices with
Hotel Web site, Email

NB: We are in the process of updating the following hotels (Jan 2014). Please bare with us.

Amsterdam Central
Bed & Breakfast

Oudebrugsteeg 6-II, 1012JP AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands

Tel: 00 31 624 45 75 93
Fax: 00 31 206 18 60 60
 Click here to visit our website.
Description: Cozy B&B rooms and a nice apartment for rent in centre of Amsterdam. 2 minutes walking distance to the central station and less than 30 seconds to the main gay area, the Warmoesstraat, with lots of gay bars, a gay sauna, and more. Owned and run by a young gay couple.

Web site, Email

EnSuite Apartment

Keizersgracht 122, 1015 CW Amsterdam,
The Netherlands.

Tel: + 31 20 4211887
 Click here to visit our website.
Description: En Suite Apartment is located in downtown Amsterdam on one of the main canals of the city. The nicely decorated apartment offers a spacious living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette, including microwave, coffee making facilities and a fridge (incl. complimentary beverages). The apartment is convenient located, closeby museums, bars, restaurants and gay nightlife. Only 1 minute from the Gay monument.

Web site, Email

ITC Hotel

Prinsengracht 1051 , NL-1017 JE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tel: +31 61 990 4484
Fax:+31 20 624 5846
 Click here to visit our website.
Description: ITC Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The prettiest gay hotel in Amsterdam at the famous Prinsengracht-canal in the centre of the gay-area.

Web site, Email

Truelove Antiek & Accommodation

Prinsenstraat 4, 1015 DC Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tel: +31 62 480 5672
Fax: +31 20 320 2500
 Click here to visit our website.
Description: Guest House and antique shop in the old centre of Amsterdam the Jordaan. Situated in a little street between two canals and run by gay couple. Close to tourist atractions, musea markets and bars and restaurants. Web site, Email

Amsterdam Gay Friendly / Gay owned Hotels.
Amsterdam Central Bed & Breakfast Oudebrugsteeg 6-II, 1012JP Amsterdam 00 31 624 45 7593
Anco Hotel-Bar O.Z. Voorburgwal 55, 1012 EJ Amsterdam, 00 31 20 624 1126
Barang‚y B&B Droogbak 15-a, 1013 GG Amsterdam 00 31 62 504 5432
Black Tulip Hotel Geldersekade 16, 1012 BH Amsterdam 00 31 20 427 0933
C & G B&B P.O. Box 15889 1001 NJ †Amsterdam 00 31 20 422 7996
Drakes Hotel Damrak 61, 1012 LM Amsterdam 00 31 20 638 2367
The Golden Bear Kerkstraat 37, 1017 GB Amsterdam 00 31 20 624 4785
Hotel Clemens Raadhuisstraat 39, 1016 DC Amsterdam, 00 31 20 624 6089
ITC Hotel Prinsengracht 1051 , NL-1017 JE Amsterdam 00 31 20 623 0230
Maes B&B Herenstraat 26, 1015 CB, Amsterdam 00 31 20 427 5165
Rubens B&B Rubensstraat 38 bv, 1077 MS Amsterdam 00 31 20 662 9187
Sunhead of 1617 Herengracht 152, 1016BN Amsterdam 00 31 20 626 1809
Truelove Antiek Prinsenstraat 4, 1015 DC Amsterdam 00 31 62 480 5672



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