A city that's not only the capital of its country, but renowned as the sex capital of the world. Very popular with us English boys for a weekend away due to its relaxed attitude, cheap prices and short distance to travel. It's actually about the same distance from London as that to Manchester.
Amsterdam wasn't bombed in the war, so the beautiful old architecture still remains. The many canals that run through the city also add to its
splendor. They're there to help control the water content, as the city is 4 metres under sea level built on reclaimed land from the sea. This land is very flat which makes cycling the preferred mode of transport; the bikes are everywhere, littering the streets, chained to every available fence and lamp post possible. It's certainly the best way to get around the city, however if you're not keen on the idea then there are also an extensive networks of trams to get you about.
While Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, you can get by real easy if you can’t speak Dutch. Holland is one of the only countries in continental Europe where most natives speak English fluently. Homosexuality doesn't seem to be controversial at all; you can safely walk around the city in hand with your partner without the treat of violence or abusive comments. Sexual discrimination doesn't seem to exist at all; same sex couples are eligible to the same benefits as Heterosexuals; gay men and lesbians are even allowed to get legally married. I met many English boys who have permanently moved over there to enjoy the quality of life and sexual freedom that the country brings.
There are several gay areas within the city, all in easy walking distance of each other. Probably the best street to get started on is Reguliersdwars Street, which is home to many venues. Soho, Havana and Exit come recommended. Also on this road is an excellent underwear shop called `Man Talk`. It stocks just about every kind of underwear, speedo or pair of
hot-pants you could imagine. Just down the road is another similar shop worth checking out called String Slip, if you're a speedo fan like me then allow a few hours in your schedule to check them out! (I spent £500 on gear the first day I went in!). The Cockring is another famous gay Amsterdam venue and worth a visit when you're in a horny mood, it's a 3 level bar/club located in the leather area of the city on Warmoes Street.
The largest and most famous gay club is called `It` on Amstel Street. The Backdoor, a venue next door to the `It` club hosts a popular Sunday tea dance that kicks off around 10pm and attracts Amsterdam's sexy A-list boys. Other monthly and annual parties to watch out for are organised by Robert Riedijk, these include the Black Party, White Party and a monthly Boat party called `The Stream`. If you feel like getting out of the city then travel to Cologne for the monthly 'Loveboat' parties... very popular with all the muscle boys. Also try 'La Demence' where many guys from Amsterdam go, they are usually held on holidays, check the gay press for details.
The red light district is Amsterdam's best known tourist attraction. You'll find hundreds of beautiful prostitutes behind windows wearing just skimpy bikinis, unfortunately they are all female. It would be great if there was a gay/male equivalent, sexy boys standing around in speedos for you to view; I would have been there for hours! Of course if you’re into hiring there are plenty of boys hanging around on the streets but the easiest way to get your end away is via the many darkrooms or saunas. Most of the gay bars have their own darkrooms. I remember checking out Europe largest in the basement of the Cuckoo's Nest; it was so big that I almost got lost inside!
The saunas are also quite spectacular, very clean with much talent on offer. Thermos is Europe's largest holding up to 400 people on a busy day. The law states the venue is not allowed to be open 24 hours so it's split into two. One is a day sauna (opened from to I believe) and the other a night sauna, open all night long. The day sauna is near `Leidseplein` and the night sauna is located in the 'Kerkstraat' (Church Street)
It was my first trip to Amsterdam in May 2001 for the
Queensday weekend (Queensday is a bank holiday that celebrates the queen's birthday). Its one of the largest celebrations of the year, the whole city shuts down, thousands of stalls and numerous parties take over the streets all with an orange theme, the royal colour.
The other big gay event of the city is the weekend of
Gay Pride and the White Party in August. If you haven't been to this wonderful city I'd fully recommend it.
Here are some recommended links to gay things in Amsterdam…