4 min

Cruising, sex and drugs in Amsterdam

The big North American taboos are less of a legal issue here

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Historically this is a live-and-let-live society, you won’t find police roughing up guys in the cruising spots; in fact, one local park, De Oeverlanden, actually has signs provided by the city, pointing to the cruisiest section.

Sex, that big North American taboo, is less of a legal issue here, with live shows, and plenty of busy backrooms and regularly scheduled naked party nights. Sex-work is legal and regulated, but for health reasons rather than moral concerns. Big circuit parties regularly roll into town throughout the year, but especially during the gay holidays, and for leather events in the fall.

Hash and pot smokers over 18 may still enjoy the freedom to buy and light up at one of about 200 Amsterdam coffeeshops. The Amsterdam’s City Council, through an agreement with the coffeeshop union Bond van Cannabis Detaillisten (BCD), allows coffee shops to operate with licences, shown by the display of an official, green and white sticker in the window. Magic mushrooms were banned in 2012, but the milder “Truffles” (aka “philosopher’s stones”) have since been sold at “smart shops.”

Near Centraal Station, where Warmoesstraat meets the Zeedijk, the picturesque gay pubs on narrow streets on the canals draw mixed but mainly male crowds, from the maturely sophisticated to the young and artsy. Across the Damrak, around Nieuwezijds Kolk, the Cuckoos Nest, the Web, and Boys Club 21 offer more erotic relaxation. Sauna Nieuwezijds is a recent addition to the neighborhood. Near Leidseplein, Club Church, Spijker and Bronx Video make their stretch of Kerkstraat sexy, and Thermos, one of Europe’s finest saunas, isn’t far away.

For leather and sex bars, check out the Warmoesstraat where you’ll find the flagships of the famous leather stores, Mister B and Rob, along with men’s leather and cruise bars Dirty Dicks, and The Eagle, keeping testosterone levels high. The bar/restaurant Getto, plus other coffeeshops, take-outs and porn shops fill out the spaces in between.


Dirty Dicks: original “sleaze pit” men’s bar, famous last Thursdays Golden Shower parties, first Sunday fisting, second Sundays naked.

Eagle Amsterdam: men-only cruise bar reborn, fresh energy, 1485 building, leather, rubber, uniform, skinhead, sports dress code nights, 3 floors, lounge, dance floor, DJ music, dark basement, smokers’ lounge, open ‘til 4 or 5am.

Cuckoo’s Nest: men’s bar, fully equipped SM play cellar, videos, cabins, busy night and day, international crowd, friendly staff.

Web: venerable leather men’s bar, roof garden, ‘not too dark’ darkroom, earlier than most places cruising, popular Sunday.

Club Church: men’s cruise bar with smoker’s lounge, private cabins, slings, douches, and showers. Nightly theme nights include naked, underwear, leather, rubber, bears, piss, and SM; special fetish parties and events throughout the year.

Spijker: mostly men gay bar, beer busts, big-jackpot bingo, pool table, backroom playspace and darkroom, porn and cartoons.


Sauna Damrak 54 : oldest men-only sauna in Amsterdam, two Finnish dry saunas, steam-bath, whirlpool, roof-terrace, relax area (no cabins), bar, private sauna facility, massage-services. “Straight, gay or bi-sexual… none of our business.”

Sauna Nieuwezijds: new gay sauna near Central Station, from the Club Church guys; lounge/bar, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, private cabins, smoker’s lounge, massage. Open 365 days/year.

Thermos Sauna: five- level steam/sauna complex, free cabins, swimming pool, whirlpool, sports area, bar and lounge, hot tub, theater, roof terrace sun deck, shop and restaurant with dinner nightly. Great Sunday afternoon crowd. Monthly Wild & Wet foam parties.

In Arnhem, a short train ride from Amsterdam, Steamworks is known for their monthly foam parties.

In the town of Enschede, by the German border, ‘t Bölke is a gay sauna and cafe/disco complex to check out.

Sex spaces

Club Church: all kinds of erotic events, including Ladz fetish parties, plus naked parties, sneaker and sports fetish and more.

Same Place: erotic bar, open to all, irrespective of gender or sexual preferences. Monday night men-only sex parties 8pm-1am.


Prostitution is legal and regulated in Amsterdam. Several websites offer the companionship of attractive young men.

Boys Club 21: bar/ house of boys, handsome, sensual guys, ready and willing, casual meetings at bar/lounge, Wednesday and weekend strip shows, four full-amenity theme rooms upstairs. Rates set by the house. Also online escort services, photos.

Michael’s Boys: 18-38 year-old international escorts to arrive at your hotel or your home; photos online.

People Escorts: ages 18+ male escorts, “any place, any time, anywhere.” Interactive Digital Assistant for email and sms hook-ups with self-employed guys.

Cruising spots

Nieuwe Meer (Anton Schleperspad) day and night, can be muddy, sometimes attracts gay bashers.

Vondelpark (near Leidseplein) day and night, at the rose garden in the center of the park.

Oosterpark (by Tropenmuseum) cruisy after sunset, park gets very dark, popular with local Arab guys.

Leather shopping 

A world center for leather clothing and equipment, Amsterdam has top-notch stores and services. Look first to the heart of the leather scene under the black-and-blue flags in Warmoesstraat.

Black Body (Kerkstraat 173), selections from rubber socks to body bags, good prices on jeans, chaps, shirts, vests.

Mister B (Warmoesstraat 89), home retail store of international leather/fetish product line, fine leather/rubber garments, boots, accessories, fetish magazines, toys, piercing, tattooing, and artworks.

Mister B (Van der Madeweg 5b), like the retail store, but for traders, shop owners and internet stores.

Rob Leathers (Warmoesstraat 71), the other famous leather maker’s flagship store, custom-made leather/ fetish items and accessories.

Sex shops

Amsterdam is a center for gay sex shops and cinemas with wide selections, on-site screenings, cruising and DVD rentals.

Adonis Cinema: large selection of adult gay magazines, video screenings, cabins, dark rooms.

Bronx Video and Bookshop/Cinema: gay erotic magazines, books, DVD sales/rentals, video cabins, internet.

Drake’s: sex shop magazines and videos, toys, SMB accessories, peep booths, glory holes, rainbow items.

Le Salon: gay/straight/bi porn cinema near Central Station, plenty to read and watch, peep booths, glory holes.

For the most up-to-date travel information on gay Amsterdam, see our City GuideListings GuideEvents Guide and Activities Guide.