Amsterdam is a city renowned for pleasures that one can’t experience elsewhere in the world, like their red light district and legalized marijuana practices. However, there’s so much more to Amsterdam, most notably from a gay travel perspective. Take for example, a holocaust memorial dedicated to gays and lesbians persecuted during the second world war or Milkshake, a queer music festival that’s said to be even better than their annual Pride celebrations.
Here’s our top 5 gay things to know about Amsterdam.
#1) Not long after they recognized same-sex couples’ domestic partnerships in 1998, The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. A poll of the Dutch population in 2013, showed that 85% supported same-sex marriage and adoption, proving that the country is one of the most welcoming and gay friendly nations in the world.
#2) There’s a holocaust memorial for gay and lesbian who fell victim to the Nazi regime. Opened in 1987, the Homomonument’s situated in the center of Amsterdam. The purpose of this monument is to “inspire and support lesbian and gays in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination.” Homomonument’s also the very first monument in the world that commemorated gays and lesbians who were affected by the tragedy of the second world war.
#3) An exciting development is that Amsterdam will be hosting EuroPride in 2016, the first time since 1994. The weekend long Mardi gras style party was first started in London in 1992 and is hosted by a different european city each year. It features different sporting and artistic events, including live music, special club nights, and a big parade.
#4) Amsterdam’s gay pride parade actually takes place on the canals and not the streets. Instead of parade floats on wheels, Amsterdam uniquely celebrates pride on boats which coats down the Amstel and along many of the city’s most scenic canals. Everyone parties, whether they’re on one of the boats or enjoying the parade alongside the canal. In addition to the parade, there’s a slew of other events, so check pride website for details. Be sure to book your hotel early, as this is one of busiest times of the year in Amsterdam.
#5) Amsterdam’s best gay festival isn’t actually Pride, but a queer music festival called Milkshake. This festival encompasses all that the country is doing to achieve an ambiance that’s free of society created stereotypes. Milkshake aims to bring everyone together no matter their cultural background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The overall mentality is that we’re all people, the salt of the earth, and this is something to celebrate! With tons of live bands and various DJs performing, there’s a lot of fun to be had at this summer festival held outside at Amsterdam’s Westerpark.
5 Gay Things To Know About Amsterdam was originally published by Adam Groffman on the best gay travel website: My Gay Travel Guide – hand-picked gay travel info, stories & tips