“Amsterdam is not the safe accepting haven it once was.”
Amsterdam has always been the best city in Europe (perhaps the world) in which to be gay.
But the idea that it is universally welcoming or accepting of homosexuality is not true now and in fact has never been true.
People often assume incorrectly that the Netherlands is an accepting and tolerant country.
This is not true. Dutch people are no more accepting than British people.
People often mistake indifference to acceptance. And Dutch people are largely indifferent to anyone outside their immediate circle of family, friends and colleagues.
The Netherlands is a tiny country with 16 million people (the most densely populated country in the world).
In order to rub along with each other peaceably the consensus seems to be ‘You can do what you like, so long as it doesn’t interfere with my life in any way’. Therefore if you want to buy drugs or use prostitutes then by all means do. But try to open a brothel or a coffeeshop near their house and you’ll get a far different, far more negative reaction.
This indifference to people and groups outside their immediate circle is often confused with social liberalism.
The Netherlands has a bible belt in fact – a strip of land east of Amsterdam where evangelical christianity is very strong.
It also has a large immigrant muslim community comprised mainly of Moroccan and Turkish people who are not tolerant of homosexuality.
Gay rights and acceptance are more advanced in the Netherlands than most other places in the world. But people should not suffer from any delusions about the Dutch themselves being more tolerant or accepting than British people.
Gay Pride does have a very high profile here however. Then again it should also be remembered that there are gay prides in London, Manchester, Brighton, Liverpool, Leeds etc etc.
In the Netherland the ONLY gay pride each year is in Amsterdam. Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht etc have nothing.
No wonder it is so high profile.
Very tolerant country. Everybody used to go every week!
Things have changed and we all know why so why the pretence? it’s only a website you are not going to open the eyes of the world
and let out the truth.
My god have things changed went to see my brother recently silly man he has become a Muslim hahaha!
So sad so silly that people go there because it is such a tolerant place and then they destroy it for the very reason they went there.
Keep up the fight we have some way to go in Holland it seems.
I’m looking forward to Leather Pride / Get Ruff in October a weekend of guys in leather, sex parties beer and cannabis my favorite weekend of the year :) Although Folsom Europe in Berlin is a close second London Fetish Week doesn’t come close.
No 2 – Pim Fortuyn – well naturally the muslims are homophobic – their religion is toxicly bigotted after all. But bear in mind that only about 5% of the population is muslim – a percentage similar to Britain.
Prior to 9/11 it was the christian black community (originating in Surinaam and the Dutch Antilles) who were blamed for all the Netherlands problems. Tnis community is similar in size to the muslim population.
These days the black people have been let off the hook. The muslims are blamed for everything these days.
It’s a load of crap.
The Netherlands is a far better place in which to be gay than Britain.
It’s just that people in Britain are living under this illusion that the Netherlands is a liberal, accepting country. Dutch people are not more liberal and accepting than British people. They just have better equality laws.
Isn’t it bizarre that it is ONLY Amsterdam in the Netherlands which has a gay pride parade. Why not in Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Haarlem, Utrecht, the Hague, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Alkmaar, Leiden, Delft, Groningen and all the other large towns and cities?
It’s not the muslims’ fault that only Amsterdam has a gay pride.
Nationwide, the majority of Muslims in the Nethrlands live in Amsterdam, and comrprise approximately 13% of the city’s total population.1 The city of Amsterdam’s total population is about 750,000; as of 2004, approximately 63,000 inhabitants are of Moroccan descent, and 38,000 of Turkish descent – the two largest Muslim communities in Amsterdam. In addition, there are an estimated 5,000 Egyptians, 5,000 Pakistanis, and an undetermined number of Muslims of the 71,000 Surinamese inhabitants in the capital city
Well Amsterdam also has the most international and cosmopolitan population of the Netherlands. There are over 150 nationalities here.
There are more British people living in Amsterdam than anywhere else in the Netherlands.
In fact less than 50% of Amsterdam population (within the official city limits) is Dutch born (although when you take into account the large, white, Dutch suburbs such as Diemen, Duivendrecht and Amstelveen which form part of metropolitan Amsterdam and towns such as Zaandaam and Haarlem which are almost party of the city) it brings the population up to about 1,500,000 and brings the muslim population close to the national average of about 5%.
The native, white Dutch population is inherently conservative and not particularly accepting of minorities. Blaming muslims for the country’s problems does not alter the fact that the Netherlands is a conservative nation with liberal laws.
It would be foolish to blame (homophobic) Muslims for homophobia in countries such as Britain and the Netherlands. After all, this deluded and (largely) bigoted group comprises (for now) only around 5% of the population in Britain and the Netherlands; however, it is equally foolish to dismiss or marginalise the role this minority has on promoting, among other vile things, homophobic bigotry.
Oh I’m no fan of islam. I am not a fan of any religion as it serves no purpose other than to allow people to think for themselves.
However in the Netherlands, evangelical christianity is a larger force than it is in Britain. And evangelical christianity is a bigger force in the Netherlands than islam is.
There is a bible belt in this country and the homophobia there is as abhorrent as that shown by the muslims.
As I said already the Netherlands is an inherently conservative country. People think otherwise but that’s because Dutch society is trained to be indifferent to those outside their immediate circle which has allowed superstrong equality laws be introduced.
Amsterdam is the HQ of gay life in the Netherlands. But people should not imagine that the population here is instinctively accepting.
It is not.
And bear in mind that ‘liberal Amsterdam’ has been under attack for the last 10 years.
Not by the muslims – but by the government – the rightwing CHRISTIAN Democrats (CDA).
Been to the big Red Light District in Amsterdam lately?
Notice the reduced number of prostitutes in windows (many windows showing some new fashions instead). That’s because the CDA closed them dowm. Of course this doesn’t mean that the hookers are otherwise employed – it’s just that their jobs are now FAR more dangerous as they do not have a secure place to work.
Notice the reduced number of coffeeshops. That’s because the CHRISTIAN Democrats have decided that adults are not able to decide whether or not marijuana is safe and are shutting them down.
I blame the CDA just as much as I blame islam and the extreme right PVV for Amsterdam’s declining status as a haven for alternative living.
“I blame… the extreme right PVV for Amsterdam’s declining status as a haven for alternative living.”
One of the main arguments that Geert Wilders, the leader of PVV (Party for Freedom), uses to attack Muslims is that they are homophobic. So, I’m surprised that you’re blaming PVV for being (at least partly) responsible for Amsterdam’s ‘declining status as a haven for alternative living’. Since they criticise Muslims for being anti-freedom and anti-gay, surely they should be 100% behind gay people.
The PVV are not as homophobic as the Christian Democrats or the Christian Party as they are largely a secular party. But they are skilled in playing people off against each other.
Wilders uses islammic homophobia to scare gay people all over the country. However he has never done anything constructive for gay people. He simply says “those muslims are out to get you”.
He uses the fact that the large urban centres have larger muslim populations to scare his rural (white, christian) audience. He enjoys his greatest levels of support in areas of the Netherlands with the smallest muslim populations
When convenient he will use the fact that the crime rate among the (black, christian) Surinamese people is higher than among whites, to frighten his audience.
Notably he has been VERY silent on criticising the recent, large, immigration from christian eastern Europe.
Why is this do you think? After all Dutch society is not massively enamored of Eastern European migration.
However as Wilders’ wife is Hungarian he dare not criticise this for fear it could affect his personal situation.
It is totally true that Amsterdam is not a good representation of the Netherlands. Some would find it incredible that thousands people refuse immunisation (stupidly, for themselves and criminally, for their children; cf. Google, ‘polio in staphorst’) against diseases such as mumps, polio etc, on religious grounds. (When you gently point this stupidity out, you get a barrage of self-pity and abuse, as I experienced 2 years ago: http://extra.volkskrant.nl/opinie/artikel/show/id/26/Verdomde+Bond+tegen+het+Vloeken )
On the whole, I was very pleased to see a resolve from the gay community, and the politicians to tackle homophobia and ignorance. Before we talk about Amsterdam being the gay capital of the world, let’s see the following: bystanders rushing to help someone being attacked rather than just waslking on by; the ‘enkele feit’ references to homosexuality removed from the Grondwet; marriage registrars being denied the chance to opt out of same sex services on religious grounds; religious schools being stripped of ‘privileges’ to teach homosexuality as a sin and to be fined if they dismiss gay teachers. Hopefully this can be reality, now the crackpot ChristenUnie is out of the show.
The rot set in years ago under Kok and co, who swept this under the carpet, while extreme homophobia, such as statements from the chief mufti of the Netherlands in 1999, saying gays were worse than dogs, went more or less unchecked. Possibly this article on the El Qalem website, the ‘manifesto against homosexuality’, a week after the murder of Theo van Gogh, woke people up big time:
Ahmed Abouthaleb says it could take ‘three generations’ for the Moroccan / Turk communities to be accepting of homosexuality – it cannot, and must not be the case (funny how the real racism comes from within the community itself, as if to sady ethnicity is a barrier to enlightenment). I am glad these defeatist comments are made, because it gives the gay community and all those who value dignity and liberty some focus and resolve to speed things up.
By the way, it would definitely be wonderful to see a Muslim boat joining the parade next year. There is no better time than now for the silent majority to show how their faith inspires tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect.
There was a muslim / Moroccan boat last year.
Personally I would prefer if the muslims,christians and jews and other cultists stayed away from Pride.
If they want to march under their ethnic identity then I fully support them. But I find it sad that they wish to march under a religious identity. When their religions clearly hate them.
As for the comment:
” let’s see the following: bystanders rushing to help someone being attacked rather than just waslking on by”
That is not the Dutch way however.
I was appalled (but not surprised) earlier this year during the bitterly cold spell to see about 3 groups of people walk by an alcoholic guy who had fallen and injured his head and was lying unconcious in sub zero temparatures on the pavement. Or the time some years ago when I saw a guy having an epileptic fit in Centraal Station Amsterdam and people walking around him (luckily a group of Spanish students stopped to help him).
The Netherlands is such an individualistic society that people take little interest in those outside their immediate circle.
Witness the gay sex bars or saunas of Amsterdam. These are bars where people engage in sex in bars where alcohol is consumed. Yet there are no free condoms, because the Dutch mentality stipulates that the bars have zero responsibility towards their clients and that if the customer gets drunk and irresponsible and engagea in bareback sex, then they gay bar owners have zero duty of care towards their customers health and wellbeing.
This simply would not happen in Britain.
I really like living in Amsterdam. But I am not blind to how cold and hard and uncaring it is, as a society, while at the same time having some of the strongest equality laws anywhere in the world.
This is what happens when you go down the path of “Liberal Immigration.” Society is not as tolerant as it once was. This is the biggest mistake of the west. Especially with Islam, who has no tolerance for homosexuality. I have always liked Amsterdam, but would not visit it now.
if the customer gets drunk and irresponsible and engagea in bareback sex, then they gay bar owners have zero duty of care towards their customers health and wellbeing.’
I’m afraid I can’t see anything wrong with treating people as adults. The bar provides a place for people to indulge as they wish, as consenting adults. How far should we extend this concept? Supposing condoms were provided but not used, would the bars be responsible for not making people use them?
“I have always liked Amsterdam, but would not visit it now. ”
Why not? It’s far easier to be gay in Amsterdam than anywhere in Britain. And the rates of homomphobic attacks are far smaller than in Britain. And there is full equality for LGBT people, and the government is far more serious than in Britain about tackling homophobia.
Or are you just using any excuse you can think of to lazily bash muslim people in a a racist manner (while pretending that you just don’t like their religion)
Nikki: you say:
“I’m afraid I can’t see anything wrong with treating people as adults. The bar provides a place for people to indulge as they wish, as consenting adults. How far should we extend this concept? Supposing condoms were provided but not used, would the bars be responsible for not making people use them? ”
The bar or sauna is charging either a steep entrance fee or charging for alcoholic beverages or both.
They absolutely should be supplying condoms free of charge as part of the entrance fee.
Your attitude reminds me of the bath-house owners in California in the early 1980′s when the Aids crisis was assaulting California. Their horrifically negligent attitude was also ‘Oh our customers are adults, we are not in any way responsible for their safety even though we are selling them mind-altering beverages and providing a space where they can have sex with multiple partners’
Of course the bars aren’t responsible for ensuring their customers USE the free condoms supplied but it absolutely is their duty to have condoms freely available in the areas of their premises where their paying guests are having sex.
Then we’ll agree to disagree
It is not just in Amsterdam that things have changed. Homophobiv violence has risen exponentially in most of the more liberal democracies of Europe in recent years, and the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are immigrant Muslims.
I still enjoy reading European newspapers, but they gloss over the facts in the stories they run. I don’t know why, facts are not racist. Norway and Sweden have immense problems realting to violence from immigrant Muslim youth to, possibly more so than The Netherlands.
Here in the UK attacks are undereported, and diluted when they are, again for fear of being branded a racist by the obsessive dhimmis amongst us; politicians, journalists and academics.
Wish we would get our heads out of the sand, or it will be too late.