A very large group of people celebrate in honour of LGBTQIA+ individuals in the Netherlands.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Living in the Netherlands as an LGBTQIA+ individual
Last updated: 7/19/2024, 8:45 AM

Since the 1990s, there has been a legal ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Netherlands. However, discrimination and prejudice do still occur. On this page you will find information about living in the Netherlands as an LGBTQIA+ individual.

The world's 1st gay bar in Amsterdam

The Netherlands is known as the 1st country to legalise same-sex marriage. Since 2001, you have been allowed to marry someone of the same sex in the Netherlands. But much earlier in 1927, probably the 1st gay bar in the world was opened in the Netherlands. This is Café 't Mandje. It still exists and you can find it on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam.

Emancipation of the LGBT community in the Netherlands

After World War II, the

organisation 'de Shakespeare Club' was founded. In 1949 it changed its name and was called the 'Nederlandse Vereniging tot Integratie van Homoseksualiteit Cultuur- en Ontspanningscentrum (NVIH COC)' (the Dutch Association for the Integration of Homosexuality Cultural and Recreational Centre). In the 1950s and 60s, the COC grew larger and larger.

For example, the COC organised the 1st demonstration against article 248bis. This article meant that you could be arrested as a 21- or 22-year-old if you were kissing your 20-year-old boyfriend. While heterosexuals were allowed to have sexual contact from the age of 16. In 1971, the article was removed from Dutch law.

The Dutch government seeks equal rights for LGBTQIA+ individuals

It is possible to marry or enter into a registered partnership with someone of the same gender. In the Netherlands, LGBTQIA+ individuals can also adopt children or become foster parents. Since 2014, for example, 2 women can have a child together and both also be legal parents of the child.

Dutch government on LGBTQIA+
Read here in English about what the Dutch government says about equal rights for LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Dutch people often think positively about LGBTQIA+ individuals

Of all European countries, the Netherlands, along with Sweden and Denmark, is the country where residents are most positive about

individuals. In the Netherlands, 7 percent of people think negatively about homosexuality and bisexuality, 10 percent think negatively about transgender individuals.

Being open about your sexual orientation or gender identity

Many LGBTQIA+ individuals in the Netherlands are open about their sexual orientation or gender identity. For example, they tell their parents, friends and colleagues about this.

If you do not feel ready to talk about and be open about your sexual orientation yet, that is fine too. It is a personal choice. Not everyone can or wants to be open about their sexual orientation, even if they are in the Netherlands.

Activities for the LGBTQIA+ community
On this page you can read about different activities specifically for LGBTQIA+ individuals. You will also find organisations that focus on organising activities for LGBTQIA+ individuals with refugee backgrounds.
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