The mayor of Amsterdam has commissioned academics to study a spate of attacks on gay people in the city.

A substantial increase in homophobic attacks in the capital has been reported over the last few years.

Over half of Dutch gays feel less safe than they did a year ago, a survey carried out in August by current affairs programme EenVandaag revealed.

Sixty-four per cent of anti-gay incidents were verbal but 12 per cent resulted in physical abuse.

Amsterdam’s image in the Netherlands as the ‘gay capital of the world’ is also under threat as the survey revealed gays there were more fearful than in other parts of country.

Of the 23,000 people questioned, including 1,980 gays and lesbians, 61 per cent still maintained the Netherlands is a gay-friendly country.

In Amsterdam last year there were 32 gay hate crimes recorded by police but in the first half of this year the number was 26.

The government of Holland has committed itself to the active promotion of acceptance of LGBT people in the light of several high-profile homophobic attacks in the country.

In a memorandum on the 2008 Budget, the coalition government’s Cabinet said that respect for difference is a basic condition of Dutch society.

They committed millions of euros to fight homophobia and promote acceptance.

The University of Amsterdam has been commissioned by the city’s mayor to carry out the research into homophobic attacks.