Why you should go to Amsterdam !

Built on land reclaimed from the sea and protected by dikes, Amsterdam lies two meters (6.5 feet) below sea level with over 60 miles (100 km) of picturesque canals and nearly 100 islands connected by over 1,200 bridges. This port city - once the center of the Dutch Golden Age - has all of the enchantment of the Old World coupled with a modernity that manifests itself in eccentric design, inventive cuisine, edgy arts communities, bohemian clubs and continually gentrifying neighborhoods outside the historic center.

The city has long maintained its status as a leading tourism destination and one of Europe's most gay-friendly. With a deep-rooted history of social inclusion, tolerance and diversity, it has one of the widest varieties of nationalities which includes large Moroccan, Surinamese, Turkish and Indonesian populations. Homosexuality was decriminalized as early as 1811, and what claims to be the world's first gay bar opened in 1927. In 2001, the mayor of Amsterdam officiated the first ever gay and lesbian marriages when the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex unions. Although Amsterdam is friendly throughout, the LGBTQ scene is particularly active on Warmoesstraat and in the Amstel neighborhood, with cruise bars, fetish shops and other gay-owned businesses.

The annual Amsterdam Pride continues to be one of the largest gay pride celebrations, drawing a crowd of over 500,000-and-growing to celebrations including the Drag Queen Olympics. Other big events on the LGBTQ calendar are the Bear and Fetish prides, as well as King's Day, complemented by monthly parties held across the city. Visitors will find useful information at Pink Point, a LGBTQ information center next to the Homomonument, a tribute to the fallen gays and lesbians of the second world war.

Be inspired

View itineraries for a sample day out in Amsterdam

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