Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
If you travel by plane, you will arrive at Schiphol airport. From there, it is only 20 minutes by train to Central Station. There are many taxis, but they are very expensive. The railway station is in the airport terminal building.
Trains are reliable and reasonably priced. There are two bus companies in Amsterdam. GVB provides the trams and local buses in Amsterdam. Connexxion runs the regional bus lines.
On www.9292ov.nl you get information about your trip by public transport from all companies for your trip in Holland.
Public transport uses the ‘Public Transport Chip card’. Information about this card is on the website www.ov-chipkaart.nl. If you only make a few trips by tram or bus, buy your ticket with the driver, although this is more expensive. For metro and train you have to buy your card at one of the vending machines.
If you plan to stay for a longer time, get yourself an OV Chipkaart which you can recharge at many ‘oplaadpunten’. Theses reloading machines accept bank and credit cards. ‘Oplaadpunten’ are in all stations and also many supermarkets.
Travel by car
Parking your car in Amsterdam city centre is very expensive (up to 5 euro per hour) and it is often very difficult to find a place to park your car. Once in town, you don’t need your car anymore. Consider the P+R facilities.
If you still want to park in town, make sure you pay enough (also on Sundays!) In most areas payed parking is from 09:00 till 24:00, seven days a week. If you don’t pay (enough), you might get a wheel clamp. And that is one thing you don’t want for sure. Most machines accept cards and don’t accept cash anymore.
Once settled in your hotel, you can walk or use public transport. More information in English on www.iamsterdam.com
More information in Dutch www.amsterdam.nl/parkeren-verkeer
Try to avoid taxis a much as you can. Very expensive and even for locals it is hard to see the difference between the good ones and the bad. If you need a taxi, call TCA (020) 777 7777. In Amsterdam you have to go to a taxi stand to get a taxi. So don’t be surprised when an empty taxi does not stop when you wave.
Amsterdam has many hotels, most of them quite small (like everything in town). Make sure you book in advance, if you don’t want to sleep in the park. Reliable booking through the official tourist office www.iamsterdam.nl.
Which hotel to book?
If you are on a low budget, you might find it difficult to find an affordable place. The cheapest options, if you don’t mind to sleep in a dorm, are the Youth Hostel: www.stayokay.com and Hans Brinker: www.hans-brinker.com.
Amsterdam almost has no exclusively gay hotels anymore. All hotels are gay friendly anyway. And to meet other gays, you want to go into town, don’t you? Basically any hotel in the city center is at walking distance to all the gay places of interest.
And if you want to be sure you have a quiet night, take a hotel a bit further from the center. Those are cheaper too.
Bed and Breakfast
I don’t use drugs, so I don’t know the details. But one thing is for sure: Selling hard drugs like cocaine and XTC is just as illegal here as anywhere else. Only the use of soft drugs (in coffee shops) is tolerated.
It is NOT illegal to use drugs. Keep this in mind when you experience health problems after using drugs! You really have to tell the doctor, the police officer or whoever is helping you what you used, so they can treat you in the best way. Read more on the website of Pink Unity.
GHB/GBL is a real problem for party organizers. Only use it in private and always together with someone you trust, because the danger of overdoses is extremely high.
Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam. If you accidentally walk on a bike path, you will hear them ringing their bells. The best way to see the city is by bike. For rent at many places. But please, please please, only ride a bike if you are an experienced cyclist!!! Otherwise just walk for your own and other’s safety!
Gay events in The Netherlands
Until 2013 we celebrated Queens Day on 30 April. From 2014 on we celebrate the king’s birthday on 27 April*. This is a public holiday. Downtown Amsterdam is just one huge open air party. People dancing and drinking in the streets from the night before (so the 26th), all day long. Most people wear orange clothes (or at least something orange). Several large gay parties are organised as well. Check websites like www.gaynews.nl, www.gayamsterdam.com and www.nighttours.com
* When 27 April is on a Sunday, Saturday 26 April will be Kings Day! The next time this happens is 2025. 🙂
Amsterdam Fetish Pride
Yearly event in May.
Amsterdam Gay Pride
Yearly pride event, last weekend of October or first weekend of November.
Official website: www.leatherpride.nl
Official Amsterdam tourist office (VVV). The best way to get reliable tourist information is to visit this website or the VVV offices in every main city. Also for hotel bookings. (In Amsterdam you don’t need to go to a gay hotel, because there are gays in every hotel and all hotels are gay friendly)
Pink Point is the official Gay Tourist Information Office. Visit their small shop near the Westerkerk (= western church) and Homomonument on the Westermarkt. Friendly staff to tell you where the hottest parties of the moment are.
A second official gay tourist information center, near to Central Station.
Amsterdam gay map, which you will find for free in every gay shop, bar and also online.