If you’re wondering what Amsterdam has to offer lesbian travellers, you’re in the right place. In this guide, I provide a complete rundown of lesbian Amsterdam, including the best queer bars, clubs, events, and things to do around the city.
It’s no secret that Amsterdam is a forward-thinking city. Where most cities hide their hedonistic underbelly of $ex, d*ugs, and rock and roll, the Netherlands hotspot celebrates it. It’s a city where you don’t have to feel ashamed about having a little fun.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Amsterdam welcomes LGBTQ+ travellers with open arms. It’s up there with the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in Europe, which is why we keep returning time and time again.
In this guide, I will share the very best of queer and lesbian Amsterdam. From wild queer parties and vibey gay & lesbian bars to LGBTQ+-owned businesses and other queer things to do in the city, it’s all right here in this blog. So, let’s get to it.
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Lesbian Amsterdam FAQs
- Enjoy great savings on Amsterdam attractions and transport with an iAmsterdam Card.
- Book a hotel or hostel here or check out these best air bnbs in Amsterdam.
- Stay connected in Amsterdam with a portable wifi hotspot or a local e-sim.
- Get to know the city on a best-selling Amsterdam tour.
- Don’t forget travel insurance – World Nomads is our go-to choice for cover.
LGBTQ+ Rights in Amsterdam
LGBTQ+ Safety in Amsterdam
The Netherlands has some of the most progressive LGBTQ+ rights in the world. Homosexuality was decriminalised here in 1811, and in 2001, it became the first country in the world to legalise same-$ex marriage.
While it’s believed there were more in the early 1900s, the first ‘official’ gay bar opened in Amsterdam in 1927. In 1946, one of the world’s first LGBTQ+ rights organisations, the COC, also began in the city.
All things considered, you would expect the Dutch to be tolerant and welcoming of the community; for the most part, they are. However, as with most places in the world, there are the minority who aren’t so accepting of LGBTQ+ people.
For this reason, we can’t ever say that a place is entirely LGBTQ+ friendly and safe. However, from personal experience, it’s very unlikely that you will experience any issues while exploring and enjoying Amsterdam.
Best Time to Visit Lesbian Amsterdam
With an atmospheric vibe all year round, there is no right or wrong time to visit Amsterdam. In spring, look forward to tulips in bloom. In summer, Pride and other festivities. In Autumn, gorgeous fall foliage. It also makes for a magical winter city break in Europe as well.
If you are relying on good, warm weather for sightseeing, between May and October will be your safest bet. Although this is Amsterdam, so always come prepared for rain!
The summer months of April to September are considered high season for Amsterdam. With various festivals and events happening during this time, plus plenty of sunshine, the city welcomes an influx of tourists.
To avoid the crowds, consider travelling in the shoulder season (March and September-November). You should still get fairly good weather during these times, and there’s still plenty going on, but with the added benefit of not having to contend with huge crowds.
Getting Around in Amsterdam
It’s super easy to get around and explore Amsterdam. For those who love walking, it’s a super walkable city. Many of the main attractions are within walking distance of the city centre.
Public transport is also plentiful, with trains, trams, boats, and buses that take you to all corners of the city. With an iAmsterdam card, public transport is free of charge.
Another way to get around the city (which is our favourite way) is by bicycle. There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam, and this is how the majority of the locals get around.
Designated bike lanes make it incredibly easy and safe to explore the city by bicycle. We actually found it less overwhelming than travelling on foot.
You can rent bikes at various locations around the city. The iAmsterdam card also includes 24-hour free bike rental.
If it’s your first time visiting Amsterdam, or if you’re looking to explore something new in the city, it might be worth looking at the various tours on offer.
One I highly recommend is this canal cruise with cheese and wine. The tour lets you discover Amsterdam on a classic boat sailing past some of the city’s most famous sights.
We always use Get Your Guide when we book tours. They have an endless selection of tours in locations worldwide, including Amsterdam. Check them out!
Save Time and Book a Tour
For a more local experience, we recommend checking out the guided tours on Get Your Guide:
Where to Stay in Lesbian Amsterdam
You will struggle to find any hotels in Amsterdam that aren’t LGBTQ+-friendly. After all, it is illegal to discriminate against same-$ex couples when renting a room in The Netherlands.
However, we completely understand the need to feel validated and treated equally. While we’ve never had any issue requesting a double bed or expressing we are a couple, we also can’t speak on behalf of other people’s experiences.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing like Berlin’s Pink Pillow collection in Amsterdam. I’m sure there is a gap for a similar organisation to help educate local businesses on LGBTQ+ etiquette.
If you want a unique stay in Amsterdam, I recommend the quirky Bunk Hotel. This cool hotel is in a converted 1921 church in the trendy Noord neighbourhood. It’s outside the city centre but has excellent public transport connections.
The Best of Lesbian Amsterdam
I’m sure you’re keen to learn more about what there is to see and do in this vibrant and progressive city.
Naturally, being LGBTQ+ does not prevent us from wanting to explore like any other tourist. You’ll likely want to experience the Amsterdam highlights as well as the queer things to do in the city.
Since this is a guide to lesbian Amsterdam, I won’t delve into the highlights here. Instead, I recommend checking out this 2 Day Amsterdam Itinerary.
For now, let’s look at all the fun queer things to do in Amsterdam.
Looking for a rundown of the best queer and lesbian nightlife in Amsterdam? Keep scrolling to the next section.
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Queer Things to Do in Amsterdam
Check out Amsterdam's Gaybourhood
While you can find hints of Amsterdam’s lesbian and queer scene all over the city, the primary gay area is on Reguliersdwarsstraat.
This area has the largest concentration of LGBTQ+-owned businesses and nightlife. For that unbeatable feeling of being amongst your community, that’s where you’ll want to go.
You can find Reguliersdwarsstraat close to Rembrandt Square. With the countless rainbow flags dancing in the wind, it’s impossible to miss.
Other notable gay areas in Amsterdam are Kerkstraat, Amstel, and Warmoesstraat.
Take Part in a Queer Walking Tour
For a deeper insight into Amsterdam’s profound LGBTQ+ history, I highly recommend a queer walking tour with Gaily Tours.
On these tours, you will visit all of the important gay hotspots in Amsterdam while learning all about the city’s gay history from an experienced guide.
We’ve done these tours in many cities, and we always come away feeling more educated than we would if exploring alone.
If a guided walking tour doesn’t appeal, you can follow this LGBTQ+ history route instead.
Visit the Homomonument
An essential addition to Amsterdam’s gay landscape is the Homomonument. Built in 1987, it was the world’s first-ever gay monument.
Its three interconnected pink triangles symbolise the past, present, and future of the LGBTQ+ community.
The monument offers a place to sit and reflect on all those who’ve lost their lives, been denied rights, and rejected by society due to their $exuality.
You can find the monument in a prime canalside location on Westermarkt. During Amsterdam Pride and other annual festivities, it’s a popular place to party.
Go to Pink Point
Just around the corner from the Homomonument is Pink Point – Amsterdam’s official gay and lesbian information kiosk.
Here, you can find out about all things LGBTQ+ in Amsterdam, including where to go, what to see, and the history behind its gay landmarks.
Pink Point is also one of the best places in the city to buy LGBTQ+-themed gifts and souvenirs.
Support Queer-Owned Businesses
We all know how important it is to support queer-owned businesses. If they can’t rely on their own community for support, who else can they rely on?
A great place to start is the various bars, cafes, shops, and restaurants around the gay area of Reguliersdwarsstraat. Here are some others worth checking out:
- Mail & Female – A female-focused $ex shop – ‘by women, for women’.
- Gays & Gadgets – A feti$h shop mostly for men, but also stocks some cool gay accessories.
- Vrolijk – A LGBTQ+ Book and Movie store.
- Lunchroom Grannies – A gay-owned breakfast and lunch eatery.
- Kindred Cuts – A queer-friendly barbershop for all members of the community.
Watch a Drag Show
Who doesn’t love a drag show? A fun-filled evening of cabaret, glitter, laughter, and a whole lot of sass, it’s an unmissable activity for queers and lesbians in Amsterdam.
For the best drag shows in Amsterdam, check out Cafe Lellebel on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Another great spot for drag is The Queen’s Head, which hosts drag bingo on Tuesdays and drag shows on Thursdays.
Roam the Red Light District
Visiting the Red Light district might be controversial, but as such a quintessential part of Amsterdam’s culture, it would be a pity to miss it.
I love the vibe in this part of the city. It feels $exy and liberating. There are also some great bars, including some gay-inclusive bars. Look out for the rainbow flags.
Explore Cultural Hotspot NDSM
While this next thing to do isn’t exactly gay-specific, I’m including it as it’s a cool and quirky thing to do. And we all know how cool and quirky our community is sooo…
Until recent years, NDSM wharf was a simple shipyard. However, it’s now an enormous cultural hotspot, boasting vibrant street art and a variety of diverse bars, museums, and restaurants.
To get to NDSM, you can take the free riverboat from Amsterdam Central Station.
Enjoy Drinks at Waterkant
Waterkant is a vibey canalside bar and restaurant with a sprawling outdoor terrace and a range of great food, drinks, and events.
It’s not a specifically queer bar, but we love them because they greatly support the community, quoting, “diversity and inclusion are of paramount importance to us”.
During Pride, they host a realm of LGBTQ+-focused events and parties while also displaying the largest progress pride flag in the world!
Cycle Around Westerpark
Another cultural hotspot popular amongst the LGBTQ+ community is Westerpark.
The park provides a calm spot for cycling and holds regular events, including the inclusive Milkshake festival.
The Westergas complex inside the park has various modern cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Lesbian Bars in Amsterdam
Founded by ten women in 1978, Cafe Saarein was the first lesbian bar in Amsterdam. Its vibe is a traditional brown cafe, which is a bit like a traditional English pub.
When it first opened, Saarein was a women-only bar! But today, it’s more inclusive, welcoming all queer-minded people.
A somewhat more modern lesbian bar in Amsterdam, Bar Buka is in the vibrant Pijp neighbourhood.
While everybody is welcome at this bustling venue, its primary goal is to bring women together. Buka provides a safe space for queer people to connect and be themselves.
Regular events include offline speed dating, karaoke nights, and events for the older queer community.
Another venue making waves on the queer and lesbian Amsterdam scene is Pamela. A colourful hangout spot in the city serving up great food, drinks, music, and events.
Pamela prides themselves on being a safe space for all queer people and BIPOC. Those who feel like they don’t fit in elsewhere are sure to find their community here.
Bario is another queer and lesbian bar new on the Amsterdam scene, and we love to see it.
It is a self-proclaimed safe space for marginalised communities; everybody is welcome here. But they ask that you ‘check your privilege at the door’ since this is a space for BIPOC, trans, and queer folk.
The events are as diverse as the crowd, from art exhibitions and cultural events to vibrant, themed party nights.
Queer Bars in Amsterdam
Café 't Mandje
Remember I told you that the first ‘official’ gay bar in Amsterdam opened in 1927? Well that was Café ‘t Mandje.
The traditional brown cafe is still open today, almost 100 years later. While there’s been periods of it closing, it’s always found a way to reopen.
Today, it’s a classic venue in gay and lesbian Amsterdam with traditional decor and a diverse LGBTQ+ crowd. You can’t miss it!
Often considered the most popular gay bar in Amsterdam, Prik is a happening venue attracting a mixed LGBTQ+ crowd.
While the bar is famed for its wild party nights, you can also pop in early in the evening for relaxing drinks and tasty bites.
Also to be enjoyed is the outdoor terrace area, perfect for those beautiful summer evenings in Amsterdam.
Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s gay district, Taboo is an energetic venue perfect for wild nights out and pre-party drinks.
It’s happy hour every day from 6 pm, while weekly events include ‘Fabulous Cocktail Night’ and ‘Drag Me to Heaven’.
Queer Clubs in Amsterdam
For those who love to dance the night away, Club NYX is usually the first port of call for the LGBTQ+ crowd.
A sprawling venue of 4 floors, this is a place for people to let their hair down, have fun, and get lost in its ‘colourful world of wonders’.
By the way, Club NYX is a club for everyone, regardless of how you identify. But its attitude is easy-going and open-minded, and so is the crowd.
Another venue that attracts the fun-loving LGBTQ+ crowd is SoHo. Set on the famous gay street Reguliersdwarsstraat, it’s popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
There are no surprises at SoHo. It’s everything you would expect from your typical gay nightclub: cheesy sing-along music, sugary cocktails, and a whole lot of fun.
For those who prefer a somewhat darker clubbing scene, Church is the place to go in Amsterdam.
Resembling the anything-goes attitude of Berlin, this is a cruising bar with dark rooms and feti$h-themed nights.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll primarily find gay men at Church, and the venue hosts specific men-only events. However, some nights attract a mixed crowd, so check before you go.
Lesbian Parties in Amsterdam
Janey is not only the biggest lesbian party in Amsterdam but also in the Netherlands, hosting regular parties all over the country.
You never know where the party is going to be. You will have to keep an eye on their socials for that information.
However, some things are for sure. They’re queer AF. Welcoming to all. And full of beautiful people looking to celebrate themselves and have a good time.
Can you imagine anything better than thousands of hot queer women on a beach letting loose and dancing to epic tunes? No, me neither.
Well, that’s exactly what you can expect from the famous Flirtation Beach event in Amsterdam.
The main event is annually; however, look out for sporadic club nights around the city all through the year.
Another famous lesbian party in Amsterdam, Femmazing welcomes all women-identifying lesbians and bisexuals.
Again, there is no regular schedule of events, so keep an eye on their socials for upcoming dates and parties.
They usually have things happening around Pride, ADE, and other popular events in the city.
LGBTQ+ Traveller? See this guide
Queer Events in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Lesbian & Gay Pride
Amsterdam Pride is one of the most unique pride events in Europe. The iconic canal parade at the epicentre of the celebrations.
However, many don’t realise that there are many other events leading up to the canal party. It kicks off at the end of July with the Pride Walk – a traditional pride protest and march.
In the weeks that follow, there are various parties, film screenings, events, debates, exhibitions and more celebrating our community.
We’ve never been to Amsterdam Pride, but it’s certainly on our list!
A multi-genre, inclusive music event, Milkshake is more than just a dance festival. Milkshake is about celebrating diversity, spreading love, and bridging the gaps within our community.
Held every year at the end of July, you can attend Milkshake at Westerpark (which I mentioned earlier). Expect nothing but great fun, good vibes, and a whole lot of queer joy.
If you happen to be in Amsterdam on Kings Day (April 27th), you’re in for quite the treat. There are street parties everywhere, including gay parties.
The place to be is the Homomonument, where there’s a free open-air party for the queer community. I’ve never been, but it sounds like a blast.
Another notable queer event in the Amsterdam calendar is Roze Filmdagen – an annual LGBTQ+ film festival held every year in March.
The festival, held at the Westergas complex, celebrates LGBTQ+ cinema and showcases a variety of movies (including lesbian movies).
Enjoy Lesbian Amsterdam!
That concludes our guide to Lesbian Amsterdam. I hope you found it helpful and enjoy exploring this marvellous queer-friendly city.
If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please contact us in the comment section below. We love hearing from you!
Stay adventurous, and happy travels.