Amsterdam Digital Nomad Guide: LGBTQ+ Edition (2024)

Glorious Amsterdam! Amsterdam is known for everything from a party town to a monument to Dutch history.

Bridges at night offer a spectacular sight. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

I have visited Amsterdam twice now: once in my early 20s and once in my late 40s. Although my priorities have completely changed between these two stages of life, my enjoyment of Amsterdam has not wavered. I wanted to share that you can enjoy Amsterdam at every stage of life.

We filled our week with culture and history, while putting together this Amsterdam digital nomad guide. Once again, we found Amsterdam filled me with joy. But in my 20s, I was filled with a type of joy and fun. Now, at the end of my 40s, I’m filled with the joy of safety and security that Amsterdam provides.

The Netherlands has done a tremendous job at caring for its citizens and creating a safe space for people to raise a family, have kids, and grow together.

Dave Berry in Amsterdam
Enjoying a sunny day in Centraal. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Amsterdam Digital Nomad Guide:

LGBTQ+ Attitudes

Attitudes towards the lgbt community were wonderful. I asked if there was a gay coffee shop (that’s where the weed is). They told me, “Why would we need a gay coffee shop since all the people of the Netherlands love the gays?” That made me laugh. We always felt welcome. We held hands & felt fine. 

Hilarious warning sign. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Same-sex activity was legalized in 1811 in the Netherlands. That’s as opposed to the United States, where sexual activity wasn’t legalized until 2003. So, they are way ahead of the curve.

In 2013, the Dutch Parliament granted the right to trans people to change their legal gender without requiring gender surgery. It has been over ten years since that law was passed in the Netherlands – a rare benefit in a world that has not learned respect for the trans community yet.

Our Stay

Amsterdam has been cracking down on Airbnb in the city, so our options were limited. After scouring Airbnb, we found a slightly more expensive houseboat on the canal. We decided it was going to be a bit of a splurge. We paid about $3,100 for three weeks, which was about $140 / night. We would not normally pay that much. It turned out to be a wonderful choice. The memories were worth it!

Amsterdam house boat
Our view on the canal. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Living on the canal with the ducks and the boats was just enchanting. The boat did not move or float down the river. It was anchored and staying put.

Each morning, we enjoyed breakfast while the sun shined across the canal waters. Each evening, we watched the romantic couples merrily row by in the grachten sloeps (the small boats that navigate the canals). It was very endearing. 

Everyday Life

Everyday costs were high in Amsterdam. We were able to get a regular dinner for two people for about 16-18 euros/person plus drinks. Pints are about 6 euros, smaller beers are 4 euros, and lattes are about 4.5 euros. 

An Uber from the airport to the center of Amsterdam was about 45 euros. Our internet speed was really fast. We were able to get two people on video conference calls at the same time, and we were fine.

restaurant in Amsterdam
Meals are a little pricey. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Neighborhoods

Zaanse Schans

I highly recommend a trip out to the Zaanse Schans neighborhood. The Netherlands has preserved several different kinds of windmills that you can explore. You can train or bike or both to get there.

It’s a historic area with a large walkway that ties multiple shops to the original historic windmills. Accessing the windmills is a small fee, but it’s well worth it. 

Zaanse Schans, Amsterdam
Working windmills in the historic Zaanse Schans. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Each windmill is different. One windmill cuts logs and another grinds flour. You can really see the magic of this cutting-edge technology of its time. In a lot of ways, this was the very beginning of the machine age. It’s well worth a trip, and the surrounding area is friendly and fun to shop in.

Red Light District

Maybe my middle age is showing, but the Red Light District just isn’t what it used to be. When I was in my early 20s, the appeal seemed so magical. For this trip, it felt like just another little neighborhood of Amsterdam. It’s definitely fun if you are looking for something different, but I wouldn’t go too far out of my way to see it.

red light district of Amsterdam

Westelijke Eilanden

Our houseboat sat on an adorable island in the middle of one of the canals. The island itself was a tiny suburb of low-rise buildings. It had a small park, a petting zoo, and warm and friendly restaurants and shops.

We loved eating at ‘t Blaauwhooft, Harlem Soul Food, The Breakfast Club, Small World Catering, and Ibericus Amsterdam. It was the perfect neighborhood for an evening jog or meeting for coffee.

Amsterdam
Park Views on the Island. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Nightlife

Amsterdam

My relationship with Amsterdam goes back 25 years now. For my first visit, I was a recent college graduate. I had been out of the closet for about two to three years. A friend was planning a trip to Europe. We connected and settled on a stop in Amsterdam. It was the late ’90s. I found myself in a gay Irish pub in Amsterdam. I was 22 years old and wide-eyed. 

The locals took me in. They brought me to an event called The Supper Club. It was an old warehouse where the waiters and waitresses wore tuxedos. Groups of six sat cross-legged around giant silver platters. We ate dinner in bowls in our laps with our drinks on the platters. Blacklight performance art was performed in the middle of the restaurant to techno music while we ate.

As a party boy in my twenties, this was the most freaking hilarious experience of my youth. It sums up the party scene in Amsterdam so well. Although the Supper Club is long gone, the hilarious antics of young people are far from over.

Our much younger friends Tony & Hunter recently visited Amsterdam as well. They attended a big dance party called Wasteland. It was their first time in Amsterdam, and they absolutely fell in love.

The music and the scene were absolutely delectable. Even though almost 30 years separated their trip from mine, their excitement and enjoyment of Amsterdam was parallel to mine. 

Nowadays, I’m much more interested in a small wine bar. Most European cities are scaled down from anything in the US. Their populations are mostly smaller and much more densely populated.

The result is that bars and clubs are crammed into every nook and cranny. You get much smaller bars, but more of them. This makes the adventure of exploring and finding gems riveting! It’s such a blast to find different bars.

Things to Do

Homomonument

The Homomonument is the first memorial in the world to commemorate gays and lesbians who were killed in World War II. It is made of three triangles on the ground that form a giant triangle across a park near the LGBT Resource Center in Amsterdam.

Homomonument, Amsterdam
Signage for the Homomonument. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Bike Riding

Riding a bike in Amsterdam is like skydiving: if you don’t die, you’ll really enjoy it! 

In my opinion, Amsterdam’s bike lanes and adoption of the bicycle are second to none in the world. Bike lanes line every single major street in the city. Bikes have their own signal lights at every intersection. Cars and pedestrians are constantly watching for bikes. 

bikes in Amsterdam

In fact, you have to prepare yourself as a pedestrian for this. You can’t stand on the corner at a stoplight because the bike lane runs through there. You could get hit! 

Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

I highly recommend renting a bike. Test the waters and try a few bike rides through the city. It’s an adventure you won’t forget. Be careful, but trust the city. Before you know it, you’ll be swimming like a fish in water.

Westerpark & Vondelpark

These gorgeous parks are very accessible and full of sunshine and happy Dutch friends. Bring a towel. Lay out on the grass. Enjoy the random live music and people-watching.

There are more parks than just these. Every park we visited in Amsterdam was open, green, and peaceful. You can walk for miles in any direction. Get your steps in and enjoy the walk.

Coffee Shops 

You can’t go to Amsterdam and not smoke some weed, right? Haha. I’m not a big weed smoker myself, but I do like a brownie or a gummy here and there. Fortunately, there are a lot of places to buy weed. They call them “coffee shops.” 

signs in Amsterdam
Local coffee street sign. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

There’s one surprising thing that you might want to prepare for. As the rest of the world starts to take weed gummies at night to go to bed (I’m looking at you, Mom!), you’ll be surprised to know that they don’t measure the number of milligrams in their weed products in Amsterdam. 

If you go to the coffee shop and ask them how many milligrams of THC are in a cookie, they will give you a funny look or tell you how much the cookie weighs. I don’t have a solution for you, though, other than to be careful when you’re consuming weed. You can always take off a small bite. That’s certainly what we did.

The Tulips of Keukenhof

We absolutely loved the tulips of the Netherlands. Walking through this beautiful botanical garden is mesmerizing and gorgeous.

You can take a bus there. There are multiple buses throughout the day, so you can come and go as needed. It is about a 25-minute bus ride from town.

Once you are in the gardens, there are shops and restaurants. You can eat at the two or three cafes that are available. We strolled through the flowers and enjoyed the sights and sounds. It slows your pace to enjoy a garden like that. We literally got a chance to stop and smell the roses.

tulips in Amsterdam
Vibrant tulips. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

One warning is that the full tulip bloom has tricky timing. They supposedly bloom in late April, but it seems to change every year. Do your research on tulip blooming to get the right timing

Kings Day

My favorite holiday is Kings Day (formerly Queen’s Day)! This ridiculous national holiday is absolutely a gem and a must for visiting Amsterdam. It only happens once a year on the King’s birthday, which is currently in April.

King’s Day is like if a flea market and a fraternity party had a baby on St Patrick’s Day! It has its share of drinking and shenanigans.

The whole country dresses up in orange clothes and royal outfits for the day. Finally, everyone puts stuff out from their houses to sell to people walking by. Then the whole country goes out and walks around, dancing and laughing. It’s just a hoot!

My favorite aspect of King’s Day is that every single citizen is involved. In Dallas, we do St. Patrick’s Day pretty big. But it’s maybe ten or twelve city blocks and attracts 125,000 people. King’s Day is celebrated by literally every single member of the country. That’s 17 million people celebrating! There’s not a soul that I could find that doesn’t get involved. It’s absolutely ridiculous fun. That’s why I personally feel it is the best holiday I’ve ever been to.

Kings Day in Amsterdam
Wearing orange to celebrate the King’s birthday. Photo Credit: Nerd On The Run

Conclusion

From windmills to tulips, Amsterdam is jam-packed with fun places to explore. It has great nightlife, great people, and so much more. The city is full of wonders. I hope you have as much fun as we did. Until next time!

Considering other destinations in Europe? Check out Mark’s digital nomad guides to Barcelona and Lisbon!

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