Easily one of the coolest cities in Europe, Amsterdam draws you in with its promise of sex, drugs, and pancakes. However, though the city’s Red Light District and coffee shops continue to attract visitors by the thousands, Amsterdam has been increasingly moving away from its seedy image. From its uniquely charming architecture to its wide range of museums, Amsterdam has cleaned up its act and is determined to be recognized for its cultural and historical offerings.
For the average visitor, this means you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. During the day, you are spoilt for choice: wander alongside the city’s beautiful canals, go shopping in bustling markets and independent design boutiques, or spend a day in one of the world’s top art museums. There’s enough to do, see, and eat in the city to occupy any holiday, and that’s not counting the hours spent in a coffee shop enjoying the benefits of Europe’s most progressive attitude to cannabis.
When evening comes, while straight tourists are ogling at the windows of the Red Light District, gay Amsterdam’s nightlife comes alive in several LGBT hubs around the city. Gay bars and clubs are evenly spread, meaning you are never too far away from a fun night out. The city only has one gay sauna on offer, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up in quality, with top-notch facilities and a regular stream of visitors that keep it busy all night.
Amsterdam has a unique city layout created by the city’s canals. Most gay visitors within the old city center, which contains the red light district, Dam square, Damrak and gay Amsterdam’s nightlife.
The sites of gay Amsterdam are more or less evenly spread out across the city center, with two main clusters of bars. One is located in the red light district which includes its fair share of gay fetish and cruising bars, as well as the only gay sauna in town. The other is still within easy walking distance but further south.
The Netherlands is an exceptionally progressive country in almost every way, and has been ahead of the curve in terms of sexuality and sex positivity for decades.
Its attitude to gay rights is no exception: homosexuality was decriminalized way back in 1811, and the country was the first in the world to legalize gay marriage and same-sex adoption in 2001.
Gay visitors are highly unlikely to encounter discrimination in the city. If they do, they are protected by the law through the country’s Equal Rights Act.
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