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LGBTQI+ history

For LGBTQI+ visitors and residents, Amsterdam is one of the most attractive cities in Europe. Nowhere in the world will you find so many LGBTQI+-friendly attractions per square metre as in the city centre of Amsterdam. As such, it's no small wonder that Amsterdam became so popular with LGBTQI+ visitors. For centuries ‘Amsterdammers’ have had a relaxed and tolerant attitude towards different lifestyles. 'Live and let live' is one of the city’s favourite sayings.

History and milestones

Amsterdam could be considered the birthplace of LGBTQI+ rights. Homosexuality was decriminalised here in 1811, and the first gay bar followed in 1927. One of the world's first gay rights organisations, the COC, was founded in Amsterdam in 1946.

As a tribute to the many gays and lesbians who lost their lives in World War II, the city unveiled the first-ever Homomonument in 1987. Amsterdam then became the first city outside North America to host the Gay Games in 1998. And as the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, the Mayor of Amsterdam officiated the first legal gay and lesbian nuptials here in the capital city. Learn more about the historic milestones of gay rights in Amsterdam.

The tradition of Pride continues

Today, Amsterdam continues to reign as one of the world's top destinations for gay and lesbian travel. Held annually in late July / early August, Amsterdam Gay Pride is one of the most renowned Pride celebrations around the world. Still growing, encompassing the entire festivities and its infamous canal parade, it attracts almost 500,000 visitors each year, making it one of the biggest annual events to be hosted in the city.

Its recent international recognition includes:

In 2008, Amsterdam Gay Pride was proclaimed best Gay Pride of Europe.

In the same year it won the Welcome Award as the most hospitable event in Amsterdam.

In 2009, it was one of the five events nominated for best gay event in the world.

In 2010, it won an award in the category of ‘Best City Promotion Event’ of the Netherlands. 

Read more about Amsterdam Gay Pride.

Where to stay, shop, eat, drink and party

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQI+) visitors needn't search for rainbow flags to find a hotel, restaurant or bar with an open-minded welcome. Gay-friendliness permeates almost every corner of the city, with a wide range of businesses catering to every taste.

LGBTQI+ life in Amsterdam

Naturally, the thriving LGBTQI+scene in Amsterdam doesn't cater solely to visitors. There is a broad lesbian and gay community in the city and they are served by a host of specific resources and organisations. These include sports clubs, meeting groups, book shops, libraries, counselling services and much more.

Amsterdam advice

Pink Point is Amsterdam's official gay and lesbian information kiosk, situated next to the Homomonument on the Westermarkt. Pink Point provides information on the Homomonument, as well as general information on gay and lesbian Amsterdam. Staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, it presents a wide range of information and flyers from local organisations.