For many, Amsterdam is considered to be the birthplace of LGBTQI+ rights. Homosexuality was decriminalised in the city in 1811, and the first official gay bar followed in 1927.
1946: The COC organisation (website in Dutch) was formed. It has since been working towards emancipation for the entire LGBTQI+ community, promoting safety, visibility, hosting events and fighting discrimination. Powered by around 85 keen volunteers, the organisation remains and strong and active throughout Amsterdam.
1980s-1990s: Amsterdam's gay hospitality scene burst to life, encompassing bars, clubs, restaurants and shops. The openness and diversity of these institutions and businesses bolstered the gay community throughout these decades, remaining a key part of the lifestyle in Amsterdam today.
1987: The unveiling of the Homomonument, which was the world's first tribute to the many gay and lesbian people who lost their lives during World War II. It also commemorates all those oppressed and persecuted because of their sexuality outside of wartime.
This world-renowned icon of gay remembrance lies beside the Westerkerk, taking the shape of a triangle on the bank of the canal. Its three points are symbolic: one corner points towards the National War Memorial on Dam Square; another points across the canal to the site of the Anne Frank House; while the third corner points towards COC Amsterdam. It remains the largest monument in the world dedicated to homosexuality.
1996: The first edition of Amsterdam Gay Pride. It has gone on to become one of the most important Pride events in the world, and remains unique as the only one to be centred around a boat parade rather than a street parade. As its centrepiece, the Canal Parade annually draws upwards of 400,000 visitors into the heart of Amsterdam to participate and watch.
1998: During the 1998 edition of Amsterdam Gay Pride, the city also proudly hosted the international Gay Games. This is the largest LGBTQI+ sporting and cultural event in the world and takes place every four years. The 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam featured 13,000 participants and it was the first time the event had been hosted outside of North America.
2001: This was the year in which the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. On 1 April 2001, the first four same-sex couples were married in the city by the then Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen.