07 Jul How to spread your rainbow wings in Amsterdam – Part III: parties & events

High fives and colourfulness at the Supertoys stage at Milkshake Festival 2014.The Supertoys stage at Milkshake Festival 2014. Image by: Tom Hendriks

Hey you! Are you an LGBTQ student (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer) who wants to spread those wings to explore this vast rainbow-coloured universe called Amsterdam? Let me be your guide! In a series of blogposts, I’ll show you the best bars, clubs, parties, events and other places that are full of LGBTQ people. Last time, I told you about all the great bars and clubs you can visit every day, or at least every week. However, there’s also a myriad of recurring parties and gay events that transcend everyday nightlife. Let’s discover!

A little party never hurt nobody
Why should you go to a party and pay when you can walk into the Reguliersdwarsstraat every day? Because it has much more to offer! The recurring parties of Amsterdam are not just a dancefloor and a disco beat. Every party has their own musical style, their own extravagant theme (or on the contrary, really down to earth). Your favourite DJ might be in the line-up or you might like the specific crowd that is attracted to the party. The fact that you can’t go to these parties every week makes them special and all the more fun. Here’s some highlights:

Gay party F*cking Pop Queers or FPQ, NYE edition in Paradiso, New Year’s Eve 2013-2014. Sparkles, glitters, drag queens and happy people.

Happy New Year at the FPQ party in Paradiso! Image by: Tom Hendriks

  • F*cking Pop Queers & Supertoys. The former is also known as FPQ and is held at various locations, while Supertoys is hosted by club AIR. Both are your regularly recurring dose of good tunes, sparkles and plain joy. As with all principally mixed events, the guys are in the majority, but that doesn’t make it less fun – you’re going to have a great night!
  • Rumour Has It, YARRR & Flirtation. According to my lesbian friends, Rumour Has It and YARRR are very good alternatives (read: lots of fun!) that are more aimed towards girls who like girls – but boys are welcome as well! I’ve heard less about Flirtation, but this party might be equally interesting for being women-only and having the longest history of the three.
  • Cirkus Klauterwerck. Far, far away, in the former church of the since 1973 squatted village of Ruigoord, one of the queerest parties ever is regularly held: Cirkus Klauterwerck. You will have to cycle for an hour, but then you’ll have it all: Christiania meets queer meets Amsterdam – until well after the early morning.
  • Milkshake Festival. The perfect combination of diversity and festivals is found at Milkshake Festival, a day full of rainbows in July at Westerpark. Many major Amsterdam club nights have a stage here, so the enormous variety is not restricted to the colourfulness of the visitors. And guess what: there’s still tickets for this year’s edition!

There are many lists on the internet about upcoming parties and events, but alas – they are never really complete. However, these might help.

Needless to say, the one major highlight of LGBTQ life in Amsterdam is the Amsterdam Gay Pride. Central to this 9-day event is of course the famous and fabulous Canal Parade, attracting several hundreds of thousands of spectators every year. But there is much more! Every bar, every club and every recurrent party will have at least one special gay pride edition and the city fizzes of heavily crowded street parties. Furthermore, there’s many interesting serious events as well. I found one overview that’s really comprehensive and another one that is more geared towards the parties.

A perhaps unexpected but nice alternative location is the Homomonument. The whole Westermarkt square turns into a very approachable open-air dance party starting Thursday of “pride week”. Make sure not to miss the hysteric and hilarious Drag Queen Olympics on Friday! Homomonument is also notable for fun parties around King’s Day (April 27th) and Liberation Day (May 5th), as well as serious events such as Remembrance of the Dead (May 4th) and the international Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th).

The only way to get to know whether you like certain parties or events is to get some friends together and just go! Let me know about your favourites in the comments! And if you miss a party or event on my list, be sure to leave a comment as well!


The Canal Parade during Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014, as seen from the boat of LGBTQ student association A.S.V.Gay (Amsterdamse Studentenverening Gay). Crossing of Prinsengracht and Brouwersgracht.

Canal Parade at Amsterdam Gay Pride. Image by: Tom Hendriks

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highly illogical logician in progress / passionate singer with reverb addiction / fanatic dancer to commercial crap / quasi-hipster in fashion expression / involuntary master of meta-dreams / amazingly all-round exact scientist / self-crowned prince of creativity
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