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When you think about Amsterdam what comes to mind? Canals and boats, tall houses and tulips? Or dope cafes and the red light district? Well, what about gay clubs and days out and all manner of interesting gay things? Like the world’s first homomonument that is a stand against discrimination? The fact is there is more to Amsterdam that you might first realize and I’m going to try and point out some of these features for you.

Let’s start with a general day out. You have culture with various museums including the famous Rembrandt gallery and the Anne Frank House. There is a great zoo and your entry ticket there also gets you into the Planetarium (a great place to rest your feet after a hard days walking). There are the diamond workshops that organise tours, you can take a trip on a boat on the canal and there are the sex shops and even the sex museum to enjoy. Or for a special occasion you can visit in April for the national Queens Day (30th April and it’s to celebrate the Queen of the country not us kind of Queens!) or there’s the annual Amsterdam Pride festival in August. Check gayamsterdam.com for details.

Pop back to your hotel – there are many gay run or gay friendly hotels to choose from (hotels.gayamsterdam.com) – for a wash and brush up and then it’s off for the famous night life. Sure you can wonder the red light district – it’s interesting to see the girls in their windows and the drunk boys staggering in and out but do watch out for pick-pockets when the streets get busy.

There are plenty of exclusively gay bars to choose from for your pre-diner drinks. My favorite has always been April cafeapril.eu which is a big, trendy bar that’s also very friendly and which has some gorgeous young bar staff. Or, if you prefer something more traditional, the Amstel Tavern serves various beers around a horseshoe bar though the clientele are a little older. All of the bars, cafés and clubs are located within easy walking distance from Dam Square which is the centre of town – just watch out for the trams when you cross the road! And Dam Square is a short walk down from the main bus and train terminal so getting around the city and finding your night spots is easy.

After a few drinks there are more restaurants and cafés to eat at than you can shake a stick at. But THE place to dine at the moment is Getto; it has a bar, special offers on drinks and a DJ, as well as having good food. Like many evening easing places in the city it is open every day from around four in the afternoon until one in the morning.

But by then you will be in one of the clubs. There are also many that cater for the younger GLBT crowd, like Exit which is the biggest gay club in the city. It has four floors (including a backroom for naughty goings-ons), theme nights, a great sound system to blow your ears off and it’s open Friday and Saturday night midnight to five a.m. (clubexit.eu). The other club worthy of note is Cockring – it’s leathery and butch but open every night (there is a small entrance fee of around €3.00) and it has live strip shows four nights a week. Naturally there are other clubs in the city but they’re not all exclusively gay. You can check out a good list at seethru.co.uk/amsterdam/clubs.htm.

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