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Like a local Pride edition: things to do in Amsterdam

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Travel & ExplorationNetherlands

Queer actress Hanna van Vliet from Netflix hit Anne+ shows her favourite LGBTQIA+ hotspots in Amsterdam, including a ‘gay beach’ by the Maritime Museum, a queer walking tour, and one of the city’s first gay- and lesbian bars.

In honour of Amsterdam Pride and The Social Hub Amsterdam City turning into The Pride Hotel for the third time in a row, LGBTQIA+ actress and co-creator Hanna van Vliet (starring in the Dutch Netflix series Anne+) took us to her 12 favourite LGBTQIA+ hotspots in Amsterdam, so you can plan your next Pride week in the Dutch capital.

Like a local: things to do in Amsterdam – Pride edition

Hordes of tourists come to Amsterdam for its famous canals, world-renowned museums, and of course, The Red Light District. But there’s more to see in the Dutch capital, known to be one of the most inclusive and diverse cities in Europe (though there's always room for improvement).

The city is full of bars and clubs for the queer community and large events such as Pride Amsterdam attract hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. With a well-known Pride parade not on the streets, but on the water, Pride Amsterdam is one of the big yearly events many people in Amsterdam look forward to. The Social Hub Amsterdam City has been the official Pride Hub for three years in a row, hosting a range of events to celebrate diversity and love, connect, share, and educate one another and the public. Find more on Pride at The Social Hub here!

To celebrate Pride Amsterdam, we’ve partnered up with Hanna van Vliet, a queer actress from Netflix hit Anne+, and created a Pride edition of Like a Local. Hanna shows her favourite spots in Amsterdam, including a ‘gay beach’ at the Maritime Museum, queer city tours and one of the city’s first gay- and lesbian bars.

Guided by a local: Hanna van Vliet

So, what if we go beyond the city’s well-known Reguliersdwarsstraat, the queer street of Amsterdam? And what other things are there to do in Amsterdam like a local? We’ve asked local expert and The Social Hub confidant Hanna van Vliet to share her insider tips on queer life in Amsterdam.

Hanna van Vliet is a Dutch actress and co-creator. She was nominated for a Golden Calf for ‘Best Actress in a drama series at the Netherlands Film Festival and an EFP Shooting Star at the Berlin International Film Festival. She’s the lead in the successful drama series ANNE+, which she also produced.

A LGBTQIA+ actress and filmmaker herself, Hanna knows what’s going on in the gay scene in Amsterdam like no other. In her most recent work, the Netflix movie Anne+, she shows her life as a queer woman in Amsterdam. Some of these 12 LGBTQIA+ hotspots in Amsterdam are also featured in the movie, so take a close look if you (re)watch it!

What to do in Amsterdam according to Hanna

Time to find out more about Hanna’s favourite queer spaces in the city. Highlighting everything from Amsterdam LGBTQIA+ bars to the city’s queer-friendly summer spot to swim.

With these unique things to do in Amsterdam you’ll discover Hanna’s favourite side of the city, the one that always includes and never excludes; the side of the capital that’s home to every personality, gender, or colour. Get ready to experience Amsterdam, Pride style.

1. Marineterrein

Location: At the Scheepsvaartsmuseum
Activity: Outdoor
The Pride Vibe: The queer beach of Amsterdam

If you’re done with shopping and the sun is out, why not take a dip? "The grass and water of the Marineterrein is a hidden gem in the summer." The docks and park right by the Scheepvaartmuseum and Pension Homeland, close to the Central Station, is the ideal place to cool down and hang out with friends. "If you look closely, you’ll understand why people call it the ‘gay beach’," Hanna explains. "In summer, a lot of gay people come to swim and sunbathe here in speedos with trained bodies. The slogan here is ‘see and been seen.’ Or just ignore everyone and go swimming. That’s also perfectly fine."

2. Bar Bario

Location: Bilderdijkstraat 186
Activity: Bars & Exhibitions
The Pride Vibe: Inclusive bar, creative hub and safer space

If you are looking for a place to have a great drink and express your personality, Bar Bario is the perfect spot. Located in in the west side of Amsterdam, this is an intersectional safer space and also a creative hub, hosting events and exhibitions. "At Bario everyone should feel safe, comfortable and be able to enjoy themselves". A space designed to welcome marginalised communities - mainly BPOC, Trans and Queer, where you will never feel judged.

3. R. de Rosa

Location: Boomstraat 41
Activity: Restaurants & Cafés
The Pride Vibe: A safe café where you can be yourself

Hidden in the Jordaan, this newly opened, small café is the perfect place to enjoy tasty snacks, natural wines and an affordable cup of coffee on a sunny terrace. Stylish but not mainstream, the recently renovated R. de Rosa will make you feel welcome, safe and at home. Featuring beautiful tiles and artwork, Hanna describes it as a “really nice, gay-owned place with personality.”

4. Melkweg Expo

Location: Lijnbaansgracht 234A
Activity: Museum & Exhibitions
The Pride Vibe: A deep and critical reflection on the asylum system for LGBTQIA+ people in The Netherlands

Melkweg Expo is part of club and concert hall De Melkweg, right in the heart of Amsterdam. The exhibition space for contemporary photography and young artists displays an interesting, queer art exhibition until early August. The artwork of American photographer Daniel Jack Lyons called “Like a river” is definitely worth a visit. Exploring identity, transformation and coming-of-age stories, Lyons shows the social and political rights of the trans and queer community of the Brazilian rainforest. Through the anthropological journey, he captures the vulnerable and powerful side of underrepresented communities in the Amazon. You can visit the exhibition until 6 August 2023.

5. La Vallade

Location: Ringdijk 23, Watergraafsmeer
Activity: Restaurants & Cafés
The Pride Vibe: Quaint historic restaurant run by queer staff

Kicking off in Amsterdam East, Hanna sheds some light on her favourite queer restaurant. The French restaurant La Vallade in Watergraafsmeer has been around for over 30 years, and still is a true hotspot for tourists and locals alike. "Tara is the owner, who took over the place from her parents. Some staff at La Vallade have worked there for over 20 years, and they’re all very fun, authentic, and positive." Hanna explains. "It feels like a queer spot because the owner is queer, and a lot of her eccentric staff are too. We also shot a scene of our first season of Anne+ here."

6. Badass LGBTQIA+ History Storytelling Walk

Location: Amsterdam Centre, Canal Belt
Activity: Walking tour
The Pride Vibe: Meaningful and empowering experience to learn about the LGBTQIA+ community history in Amsterdam

Another one of Hanna’s most fun things to do in Amsterdam is this Badass LGBTQIA+ History Storytelling Walk. "When the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage, four couples were married by the Mayor of Amsterdam. But did you know that the city’s LGBTQIA+* history stretches back to the medieval ages?" LGBTQIA+ people – or LHBTI people, as they’re called in the Netherlands – have not only always tried to live and love as they saw fit. They have also played an important role in the development of the city and guided it towards the beacon it has become. This group tour explores this history through the stories of the people who lived it. It’s a full – and sometimes surprising – picture of the variety of LGBTQIA+ lives in Amsterdam’s history.

7. Bar Buka

Location: Albert Cuypstraat 124
Activity: Bars & Clubs
The Pride Vibe: A colourful and cheerful homecoming for queer women from the community

If all that walking made you thirsty, this is the space to wind down and relax with a drink. Head over to the Albert Cuyp market in the bustling De Pijp area, and you’ll find Bar Buka right on the market's street. Bar Buka is a bar for women, but everyone is welcome. "They organise events, screenings, and exhibit the art of queer women from the community," Hanna adds. "The bar feels very accessible. There’s no fancy dress code or strict door policy."

8. Power of Appearance Store

Location: or
Activity: Shopping
The Pride Vibe: Non-binary BIPOC queer-founded clothing store on a mission to help the LGBTQIA+ community express itself

Founded by non-binary BIPOC queers, the Power of Appearance (POA) Store wanted to give the community something different that would make LGBTQIA+ clothing more mainstream. Their goal is to make it possible to express yourself, in every way, at any time, and even if you're still closeted. At POA you can pick one of their designs, choose your pronouns and get your own personalised t-shirt! POA doesn’t have a physical store, but you can often find them at queer events or pop-up stores in Amsterdam. Keep an eye on their Instagram here.

9. Kindred Kuts

Location: Bilderdijkstraat 77
Activity: Fashion & Beauty
The Pride Vibe: The only queer barber in Amsterdam

If you’re in town and in need of a fresh trim, this queer barber is the way to go according to Hanna. "Kindred Kuts is a queer-friendly barbershop in Amsterdam offering high-quality, gender-affirming haircuts for everyone, no matter what they identify as." Kindred Kuts offers creative cuts and welcomes all hair textures and lengths. Founded and led by Gray (they/Gray), an experienced barber, Kindred Kuts aims to make queer folk and their friends feel good and look great. Their mission? To disrupt the traditional hetero-male barber industry by creating a space that is gender non-conforming and accepting of trans, enby and non-binary people, especially queer black people and POC. Oh, and their playlist is just as great as the cuts.

10. Café ‘t Mandje

Location: Zeedijk 63
Activity: Restaurants & Cafés
The Pride Vibe: The godmother of Amsterdam's queer culture

Café ’t Mandje on the Zeedijk is one of the very first gay bars in Amsterdam. It was opened in 1927 by Bet van Beeren, an openly lesbian woman, when she was only 25. She bought the bar from her uncle and called it ‘In the basket’ because her mom always brought her food – in a basket. By opening ‘t Mandje, Bet created a safe space where queer people could come together to dance, party, and celebrate, even though homosexuality wasn’t commonly accepted at the time. In the 50s, when intruders or police would enter the bar, Bet would warn her customers by turning on the light in an owl made of porcelain. After being closed for a couple of years and some hard times during the pandemic, the café is now up and running again and a queer hotspot you shouldn’t miss out on. "Due to its importance to gay history in Amsterdam, you can even find a replica of the café in the Amsterdam Museum – including original furniture and decorations," Hanna adds.

11. Audela

Location: Daniel Goedkoopstraat 14
Activity: Shopping
The Pride Vibe: Queer-minded shop curated largely out of vintage gems

If you’re not done with shopping yet, pay a visit to this queer-minded fashion store in Amsterdam – another one of Hanna’s favourites. "Audela presents collections curated largely out of vintage gems. They’re only open for private shopping, so make sure to book your spot!" she tells us. You can find Audela at pop-up locations occasionally, or you can shop online, too. DM to make a reservation for private shopping.

12. De Trut

Location: Bilderdijkstraat 165-E
Activity: Bars & Clubs
The Pride Vibe: A cornerstone of the queer party scene in Amsterdam

"De Trut is my favourite queer bar, ever since I moved to Amsterdam. It's run by volunteers, only open on Sundays and very protective of their queer space." It opens at 22:00, so everyone gets in line around 21:30, and the queue is already part of the queer culture in Amsterdam. The club strictly identifies as queer-only. "A policy that’s widely discussed among my friends. But they want it to stay a safe space for queers, and there are a thousand places straight people can go to. I personally think it’s important to protect rare spaces like this and not let them be commercialised for a ‘broad’ audience, like what’s happening in the Reguliersdwarsstraat."

Celebrate Pride with us, every day

Pride is a topic very close to our heart and brand, and we continue to support the community all year long. That’s why we’re very proud to announce that for the third time in a row, The Social Hub has been nominated as the official Pride Hotel from 30 July to 7 August during Pride Amsterdam.

The Social Hub’s Amsterdam-based location on Wibautstraat (The Social Hub Amsterdam City) will offer a full line-up of workshops and interactive lectures in collaboration with local universities. The programme, called Pride University, will feature a variety of topics covering the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. On August 4 we're hosting a LGBTQ&A with Hanna van Vliet herself, get your tickets here. Discover our full programme to support Pride 2023 at The Social Hub Amsterdam City here.

Lucky for you, there are two The Social Hub locations where you can stay in Amsterdam at any time during the year. Be it The Social Hub Amsterdam West or the The Social Hub Amsterdam City – both are centrally located and an ideal base for you to explore these LGBTQIA+ hotspots in Amsterdam.

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