LGBTQI+ music festivals and street parties
The Dutch love a good music festival. Actually, any occasion to throw a party. For a long time, Amsterdam has been a global LGBTQI+ haven with many places to connect and showcase our identities through music, art, and the freedom to do so. The concept of street parties like the Amsterdam Hartjesdagen (Days of Hearts) dates even back to medieval times. Nowadays, the city is the perfect backdrop for many street celebrations and festivals like Kingsday, Milkshake Festival, Valtifest, Tropikali Festival, and of course, Queer & Pride. Here are Amsterdam's best LGBTQI+ festivals and street parties, where we celebrate love and diversity!
26-28 July 2024
With an explosive blend of music, performance, and style, Milkshake Festival has become one of the best “queer” festivals in Europe. Love, peace, and acceptance are the main pillars for creating an inclusive and safe environment for everyone. This open-minded electronic dance festival at the Westerpark turned full weekender in 2023, with Sunday being a hotspot for the local community. With nine stages and a kaleidoscope of performances, there is plenty of choice. Milkshake provides a platform for artists from underrepresented groups while also featuring renowned names like Mel C, Sugababes, Jessie Ware, and Trixie Mattel on the main stage.
22-23 June 2024
From the creators of the Kalinichta and Rosario parties, Tropikali festival at NDSM-Wharf is the place for queer Amsterdam to get into that tropical summer vibe. With three distinct stages and a two-day festival, Tropikali is doubling the fun compared to last year. The festival sets itself apart by playing less mainstream music and focusing on music streams from across the world. Tropikali is LGBTQIA+ oriented, but all truly open-minded people are welcome. Expect a hip crowd, food trucks, tropical grooves, Balkan beats, and everything fabulous in between.
25 August 2024
The newest addition to the queer festival scene in Amsterdam is Superflirt Festival. Since 2023, this intimate boutique festival at Kaap Amsterdam invites all open-minded people to dance, flirt, and let loose! Superflirt is made for, by, and with the queer community and works closely with existing events to support local talent and bring them together. The famous Drag Olympics that used to be held at the Homomonument during Pride found their new home at the festival, so be aware of flying handbags and in stiletto’s racing drag queens.
Queer & Pride
27 July - 4 August 2024
Although pride might not fall under the festival umbrella, Queer & Pride Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of the biggest rainbow celebrations in the Netherlands. Since 2023, Queer & Pride has been spread over two weeks of parties, exhibitions, theatre, in-depth discussion panels, sports, network events, and, most of all, creating moments where we can come together as a community. To top it all off, the Canal Parade is a dazzling procession of beautifully decorated boats cruising along the iconic canals. Being one of the most significant happenings in Amsterdam, Queer & Pride shows our city’s joyful and inclusive atmosphere at its best.
5 May (Bevrijdingsdag), 26-27 April (King's Night and Day), 27 July - 4 August (Queer Amsterdam)
A living monument to remember, protest, and celebrate right in the centre of our capital city! The Homomonument behind Westerkerk is a true meeting space for the LGBTQI+ community. Unveiled on September 5, 1987, the three pink granite triangles forming a larger one is the world's first memorial for those persecuted due to their sexual orientation. It symbolises the ongoing fight for recognition and against discrimination and oppression. Being a living memorial, the Homomonument Foundation organises multiple events to remember, protest, and celebrate, with Bevrijdingsdag, Koningsnacht, and Pride being some of the best street parties in town.
19 August 2024 (TBC)
Originating in the 17th century, Hartjesdag, or “Day of Hearts,” is a historical Amsterdam tradition where local men dress as women and the women dress as men, blurring societal norms. Resurrected in 1997 around the Zeedijk, Hartjesdag now stands as an annual testament to Amsterdam's rich history, creativity, and enduring spirit of revelry. Because of the many gay establishments on the Zeedijk back in the day, the street party has been the perfect chance for many drag queens and kings to showcase their talent. So, come dressed up, participate in the pageant, and maybe you will win the 1st place Heart, Queen, or the “Prize of Confusion.”
- Pink Sunday at Kwaku Festival at the end of July. This grand celebration of cultural diversity and identity in the Zuidoost district has culture, sports, and food as the primary forms of expression, with broad social participation and Surinamese origins as the pillars of the festival.
- Queer welcoming music festivals: Valtifest, Wasteland Summerfest, ADE, Grachtenfestival
- Queer welcoming festivals: De Parade, Over het IJ, Rollende Keukens
As a born and raised queer local, Daan knows all the ins and outs of LGBTQI+ life in Amsterdam. Follow him and his boyfriend Karl on their gay travel blog coupleofmen.com for queer-welcoming destinations around the world.