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Queer & Lesbian Amsterdam: Things To Do, Bars, Clubs, Events + More

Get ready for this ultimate guide to lesbian Amsterdam. Perfect for visiting Amsterdam as a tourist or finding the best gay and lesbian things to do in the city as a local!

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, and it’s most famous for its beautiful canals, stunning bridges, cute gingerbread houses, cobblestone streets, coffee shops (not for coffee!), great gay parties, and lots of bicycles. There are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam; how crazy is that?!

But Amsterdam has a lot more to offer; there is something for everyone.

Canal Boat Ride Amsterdam

Many queer Dutch people move to Amsterdam to be unapologetically themselves. And if you visit Amsterdam, you can truly feel free to be yourself and enjoy all its beauty.

It’s a city where our love story began, so Amsterdam has a special place in our hearts.

Continue reading for the ultimate guide to lesbian Amsterdam from two locals! Including the best lesbian bars, lesbian clubs, our insider tips and spots, gay events, where to stay in Amsterdam, and the best things to do.

Good to know before your visit: in the Netherlands, you visit a café for coffee and a coffee shop for smဝking!

Reguliersdwarsstraat, lesbian couple, Amsterdam

Queer & Lesbian Amsterdam

The Netherlands is one of the more LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in the world. Therefore, it isn’t weird that LGBTQ+ rights in the Netherlands have been some of the most progressive in the world.

Being gay has been legal since 1811, and in 2001 the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize marriage for all couples, regardless of gender. Yes, we are very proud of that!

First gay marriage Netherlands 2001

The first gay bar opened in Amsterdam in 1911, and the Netherlands is home to the world’s oldest existing LGBT organization: COC Nederland. The organization has been fighting for LGBTQ+ rights nationally and internationally since 1946.

Dutch people are tolerant, especially in big cities like Amsterdam. Unfortunately, small towns can be less accepting of LGBTQ+ people. There is still lots to work on in terms of equality!

LGBTQ+ people still experience many more difficulties than straight, cisgender people, which sadly happens in most countries worldwide, but of course, we hope to see this change.

Strangely, homo (Dutch for gay) is a curse word still often used by Dutchies.

Read our lesbian love story, which began in Amsterdam!

Lesbian couple on a bicycle in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gay Area Amsterdam

The famous gay street of Amsterdam is the Reguliersdwarsstraat (yes, try to pronounce that the Dutch way!). It’s the most colorful street in Amsterdam and the epicenter of the gay scene.

The Reguliersdwarsstraat lies close to the Rembrandtplein and Bloemenmarkt (flower market).

Especially during Amsterdam Pride (end of July/early August) and King’s Day (April 27), the parties move from the bars and clubs to the streets of Amsterdam.

At the Reguliersdwarsstraat, you can find most gay and lesbian bars, clubs, cafés, restaurants, and shops.

Reguliersdwarsstraat Gay Street Amsterdam

Another important gay district in Amsterdam is at the Pink Point + the Homomonument, next to the Westerkerk.

The Homomonument is a memorial memorizing all gay men and women persecuted for being gay between 1939 and 1945 (WW II). The monument consists of three large pink triangles made of granite.

Next to the Homomument, you can find the Pink Point, the official LGBTQ+ information kiosk of Amsterdam. Here you can get LGBTQ+ information about Amsterdam and buy fun rainbow stuff and souvenirs.

Pink Point, LGBT Information, Amsterdam

Read our lesbian travel guide that that will help with planning your lesbian vacation. Including safety tips!

Queer & Lesbian Events in Amsterdam

Let’s continue with the queer and lesbian events happening in Amsterdam and its surroundings!

Besides many events for gay men in Amsterdam, there are also many queer, lesbian, and mixed events happening in the city! Events that occur throughout the year and which are great to visit.

Events you can’t miss are the Amsterdam Pride, Janey, Milkshake Festival, and the Roze Filmdagen.

We will tell you all about them below!

  1. Amsterdam Gay Pride

Amsterdam Pride happens every year, from the end of July to the beginning of August. It kicks off with the Pride Walk (pretty much a traditional Pride protest march) on the last Saturday of July.

The main Canal Parade takes place on the first Saturday of August. You will find parties throughout the whole city during the day of the Canal Parade, and especially at the Homomonument and on Dam square.

Good to know: the canal Pride parade is more a celebration rather than a protest!

Amsterdam has different events during Pride week (the week between the Pride Walk and the Canal Parade). For example, queer theater events, exhibitions, PrideTV, a Dykes on Bikes tour, and Pride at the Beach in Zandvoort!

  1. Janey

Janey is a lesbian party, with multiple events throughout the year and the venues vary! Usually, it’s in Amsterdam, but sometimes it takes place in Utrecht.

Check their Instagram account (@girlslovejaney) and Facebook page to stay up to date on upcoming parties.

  1. Milkshake Festival

Are you a festival lover? Then Milkshake Festival is the festival to join! The festival has an ‘anything goes’ vibe.

Milkshake Festival is all about respect, love, freedom, and acceptance.

It’s a queer music festival at the end of July (during Pride), held at the Westerpark. Combine the Pride Walk on Saturday and Milkshake Festival during the same weekend on Sunday.

  1. Flirtation

Flirtation is a women-only beach party in Bloemendaal aan Zee, 45 minutes from Amsterdam.

Flirtation

Flirtation is the party to go to for great dancing at the beach and to find and have a good time with other ladies.

  1. Roze Filmdagen

The Roze Filmdagen is the LGBTQ+ film festival of the Netherlands, at the Westergas and the Westerpark.

Roze Filmdagen

The Roze Filmdagen happens yearly in March and is the perfect moment to watch great lesbian movies and lesbian short films. And, of course, the festival showcases other LGBTQ+ movies too.

Another great film festival is TranScreen, which is focused on transgender and gender-diverse stories.

  1. Femmazing

Another party for women! Femmazing is for all women identifying as lesbian and bi. They organize parties in the Netherlands and Belgium. Plus speed dating events!

Femmazing

During Pride and ADE (Amsterdam Dance event), there are parties in lesbian Amsterdam. And in 2022, the first Femmazing festival took place.

Keep an eye out on their Instagram (@femmazing) to stay up to date on upcoming events!

  1. King’s Day at the Homomonument

Every year, on the birthday of the King, the 27th of April, the entire Netherlands turns orange, and there are parties everywhere.

At the Homomonument in Amsterdam, there’s a free-to-enter open-air LGBTQ+ party! And not only on King’s Day but also during King’s Night (the night before).

It’s super fun! Celebrating the birthday of the King sounds boring, but it’s our favorite day to be in the Netherlands.

Homomonument Pride Amsterdam

  1. Liberation Day at the Homomonument

On the 5th of May, we celebrate Liberation Day in the Netherlands. Same as Kingsday: free-to-enter open-air LGBTQ+ party at the Homomonument.

Usually, the party at the Homomument starts at the end of the afternoon on Liberation Day, while during King’s Day, it’s during the whole day.

  1. Roze Zaterdag (Pink Saturday)

Roze Zaterdag is the Dutch version of the original Pride protest march. It takes place on the last Saturday of June, since 1977.

Every year it’s held in a different city in the Netherlands. In 2022 it was in Rotterdam, and in 2023 it will be in Goes.

Looking for more lesbian-friendly destinations? Read all about it in our lesbian Europe and lesbian USA articles!

Amsterdam canals, Netherlands

Queer & Lesbian Places in Amsterdam

Besides fun queer and lesbian events, there are also quite some places we recommend visiting in lesbian Amsterdam. Restaurants, the Homomument, drag shows, and a gay walking tour!

If you want to meet lesbians in Amsterdam, we recommend using lesbian Facebook groups or apps like HER to connect with the local Amsterdam lesbians.

Also, check out our free lesbian dating apps’ recommendations to meet your lover or make new friends.

And continue reading to read about the lesbian Amsterdam bars too!

  1. Join a Gay Amsterdam Walking Tour

Do you want to learn more about Amsterdam’s gay and lesbian history? And do you want to see all gay Amsterdam spots with a guide? Then we recommend joining a gay walking tour!

Even we, as locals, joined a few walking tours, as you can never stop learning. There’s so much to see and learn about Amsterdam’s gay history – and broader LGBTQ+ history.

LGBT History Tour Amsterdam

We recommend joining the LGBT+ history tour of Henk de Vries (a gay man himself) if you want to learn about the history of gay Amsterdam while walking to the most important and historic gay spots.

During a two-hour walk, he outlines gay icons of historic Amsterdam and the LGBTQ+ emancipation – especially the lesbian and gay liberation.

Sanne Pols (a queer woman) also organizes unique LGBT+ tours in Amsterdam.

LGBTour Amsterdam Sanne Pols

During a 1.5-hour tour, she will show you her favorite spots in the city while telling personal and historical stories, fun facts, and history about LGBT+ Amsterdam.

Sanne brings you to her favorite spots and the gay bars in Amsterdam, from the old and dirty to the fresh and glittery.

Head to their website for more information!

  1. Enjoy Vegan Dinner at Mr. & Mrs. Watson

Okay, this might be a stereotype, but we know many queer women and lesbians happen to be vegetarian or vegan. So when living in or visiting a place, we all would love to find the best places to eat vegetarian and vegan food!

We are vegetarians ourselves and always are so happy finding the best spots for us to eat!

Mr. & Mrs. Watson is a vegan restaurant in Amsterdam not to miss. For some delicious vegan fine dining, you go here.

They are especially famous for their vegan cheeses. We Dutchies love cheese and are so happy to see more and more great options for vegan cheese.

  1. More Yummy Vegan Food at The Vegan Junk Food Bar

The Vegan Junk Food Bar Amsterdam is the place to go to for—you can probably guess it—vegan junk food.

And the vegan food here isn’t only super tasty; it’s also very Instagrammable! Perfect for those Amsterdam Instagram shots.

There are multiple locations of The Vegan Junk Food Bar in Amsterdam. You can find one on Amsterdam’s street, the Reguliersdwarsstraat!

You must try these two typical Dutch things: vegan bitterballen and vegan kapsalon!

Looking for more vegan restaurants in Amsterdam? Check this list with the best vegan Amsterdam restaurants!

  1. Have Fun at Westergas

Westergas is a creative, hip, and cultural area in Amsterdam, located in Westerpark. Former industrial buildings transformed into restaurants, party venues, and galleries, and there is a cinema and a retro arcade bar.

Westergasfabriek Amsterdam

Every year, the biggest LGBTQ+ film festival in the Netherlands happens here: The Roze Filmdagen. Which we talked about earlier!

And in July queer festival Milkshake is held at Westergas and the Westerpark. The festival’s ‘anything goes vibe’ is iconic.

The festival is all about respect, love, freedom, and acceptance. We highly recommend going to this festival if you are around!

If you like games, head to the TonTon club for drinks and fun. And head to IJscuypje for Amsterdam’s best ice cream, to Brouwerij Troost for a drink (it’s a brewery), and to Pacific Amsterdam for food! You can find it all in this area!

  1. Visit the Homomonument

Next to the Westerkerk (church), there’s a large monument, the Homomonument. The Homomonument is a memorial memorizing all queer men and women persecuted for being gay between 1939 and 1945 (WW II), and to this day, still.

homomonument design

The monument consists of three large pink triangles made of granite and is an essential spot for the community in Amsterdam.

The homomonument is where the Pride Walk usually starts, where demonstrations happen, and where we party during Amsterdam Pride, for example.

Next to the monument is the Pink Point, an official gay and lesbian information kiosk. They provide information about the memorial and more gay and lesbian info about Amsterdam. Plus, they also sell excellent rainbow gear and souvenirs.

You simply have to visit this area during your time in lesbian Amsterdam and Holland.

  1. Watch a Drag Show

Cafe Lellebel is a drag show bar with some fantastic shows. It’s Amsterdam’s only drag show bar.

Cafe Lellebel Drag show Amsterdam

Go to the bar on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening to enjoy a drag queen performance! And Tuesday evenings are karaoke evenings at Cafe Lellebel.

Fun fact: Lellebel means adulteress, fancy woman, working girl, lady of pleasure, or woman of the street.

  1. Get a Haircut at Kindred Kuts

The only queer-friendly barber in Amsterdam! Kindred Kuts offers high-quality and gender-affirming haircuts for everyone, no matter how you identify.

Gray, Kindred Kuts Amsterdam

So if you need a haircut, you know where to go! All hair textures are welcome at Kindred Kuts, and Gray specializes in short hair.

  1. Hop on a Canal Cruise

Not precisely a lesbian Amsterdam thing to do, but a must-do in Amsterdam for sure!

Amsterdam has over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of canals. So obviously, you have to see the city from the water during a canal cruise.

Canal cruise Amsterdam boat ride

The Amsterdam canals have a UNESCO World Heritage status; during this boat trip, you will see why! You will get to learn about the city highlights, but now from the water.

Spot the Westerkerk (church), the Amstel river, and the Skinny Bridge, and enjoy the beautiful canals and Amsterdam houses.

Fun fact: Amsterdam has more canals than Venice, and the city has over 1,200 bridges!

Many companies organize canal tours through Amsterdam. Rederij P. Kooij (at Rokin) and Lovers Company (near central station) are great companies.

There are many options! It’s also possible to rent a boat and drive around the city. Or paddle around on a paddle boat.

Especially during summer, it can get very crowded on the canals with boats. Therefore, it’s not allowed to swim in the canals. You can go to a designated swim spot if you want to swim.

Amsterdam canals staalmeestersbrug

Planning a Europe trip? Like Amsterdam, Stockholm, Lisbon and Reykjavík are great and welcoming cities to visit too!

  1. Shop at Mail & Female

Are you looking for an adult entertainment store in Amsterdam? Don’t look further! Mail & Female is the place to go.

Mail & Female Shop Amsterdam photo Daantje Bons and Danielle Smits
Photo: Daantje Bons

There are multiple adult entertainment stores in Amsterdam for the LGBTQ+ community, but we feel like most of them are gay men focussed. Gays & Gadgets and Mister B, for example.

Mail & Female is a female-friendly and queer-friendly adult entertainment store. Starting in 1988, they set the tone of the female entertainment scene.

It’s women-owned and the staff very helpful, perfect if you are looking for something for yourselves or someone else!

Queer & Lesbian Bars in Amsterdam

Sadly, a few years ago, THE lesbian bar of Amsterdam, Vivelavie, closed its doors after 37 years. Vivelavie was an iconic bar where many lesbians went.

The good news is, in early 2019, a new lesbian bar in Amsterdam opened its doors: Bar Buka. And we love going here!

Besides Bar Buka, there are many other fun places in lesbian Amsterdam! Go read about them below. And make sure to keep supporting those places; otherwise, they might all disappear in the future. 

  1. Bar Buka

Bar Buka is a pretty new hotspot in Amsterdam for queer women. Everyone is welcome at the bar, but women are in the spotlight.

Bar Buka lies in the neighborhood de Pijp. The bar is trendy and attracts queer women of all ages.

We love going here, and we are super happy a new lesbian Amsterdam bar opened because what’s lesbian Amsterdam without a lesbian bar!?

They also host themed events like board games days once in a while. And other events like pub quizzes, book presentations, queer story Sundays, themed party nights, and sports events (watching female soccer games, for example!).

Fun fact: Buka means ‘open’ in Indonesian! Indonesia is where the owner, Marianne van der Wildt, was born.

  1. Saarein

Saarein is a traditional brown café founded by ten women in 1978. Originally it was a women-only bar, but nowadays, Saarein is open to all queer-minded people.

Saarein

Though, you will find many women in the café. The visitors of Saarein are usually a bit older than places like Bar Buka.

  1. Café ‘t Mandje

One of Amsterdam’s oldest gay and lesbian bars in Amsterdam is Café ‘t Mandje. The café welcomes everybody and is an authentic brown café.

Cafe t Mandje Amsterdam

Café ‘t Mandje is located in Zeedijk and was opened by lesbian Bet van Beeren in 1927. After being closed for 25 years, the bar reopened in 2008. Sadly during the difficult times of 2020, Cafè ‘t Mandje closed its doors again and was sold to new owners.

Luckily, as of 2022, you can go to the bar again. And the good news is that the entire interior returned to its original state, including its jukebox, pictures on the wall, and neckties suspended from the ceiling.

Get a drink at this unique and historical lesbian Amsterdam spot!

  1. Pamela

From one of the oldest lesbian spots in the city to one of the newest! Or well, Pamela isn’t specifically a lesbian spot but marks itself as a queer bar; it welcomes the whole LGBTQ+ community.

Pamela Amsterdam queer bar

The atmosphere and vibes at Pamela are lovely. Go here for a delicious drink and sit outside on the terrace when it’s sunny. It’s the perfect spot to watch people pass by. They also have (vegan) food at Pamela.

When you come on Friday and Saturday evenings, people will be dancing here for sure!

  1. Bar Bario

Close to Pamela, you can find another new queer spot in Amsterdam, called Bar Bario! Bar Bario is queer, POC-centered, and a bar, creative hub, and safe space.

Bar Bario Amsterdam queer bar

We love how this part of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Oud-West, now has many great spots for the LGBTQ+ community. Besides Pamela and Bar Bario, you can also find Kindred Kuts in this area. Saarein isn’t far away either, and the lovely vegan restaurant Veganaas is practically on the same street!

Go to Bar Bario for drinks in an inclusive environment, and check their gallery too!

  1. Prik

In the heart of Amsterdam, this is the place to go for a mixed drink! The bar offers a friendly, no-nonsense environment where you can relax.

PRIK gay bar Amsterdam

We must say that it’s primarily men visiting Prik, though you will also find some women here. We especially love Prik during Pride, when the party moves to the street!

Close to Prik, you can also find the store Gays & Gadgets, where you can buy many gay things! Primarily for gay men, they have fun (rainbow) gadgets and gifts for everyone at the store.

  1. Amstel 54

We know Amstel 54 very well because of the Wednesday-night drinks of our former student association, ASV Gay.

Amstel 54 photo by Remon van den Kommer
Photo: Remon van den Kommer

Amstel 54 is a modern LGBTQ+ friendly bar, and especially Wednesday evening is perfect for the younger generations (the gay students of Amsterdam).

  1. Cafe Lellebel

We talked about Cafe Lellebel earlier in this article, but Cafe Lellebel is worth mentioning twice, as it’s Amsterdam’s only drag show bar.

Cafe Lellebel is a drag show bar with some fantastic shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.

Queer & Lesbians Clubs in Amsterdam

Go dancing in Amsterdam at one of its LGBTQ+ clubs! Sadly Amsterdam doesn’t have a club solely for lesbians, though there are a few super fun clubs for the whole community.

And we will tell you all about them!

  1. De Trut

De Trut is an iconic disco spot where you mostly find locals. It’s only open on Sunday night, and the disco was trendy, with long lines waiting outside to enter. These days it’s a little less popular, but it’s still a fun place to visit.

de trut amsterdam queer club

And it’s a very safe place. Phones/pictures, for example, aren’t allowed inside de Trut!

De Trut is a non-commercial gay disco that welcomes the whole community. Usually, the audience is very mixed at De Trut.

  1. Club NYX

Club NYX was one of our favorite gay spots in Amsterdam for drinks and dancing. But lately, we haven’t visited Club NYX much, as it’s often a very crowded club! So be prepared to wait in line.

Club NYX photo by Rachel Ecclestone
Photo by Rachel Ecclestone

Not only do queer men and women like to visit this club, but many straight people also go here.

The club is a home for everyone! Fun fact: the club’s name comes from the Greek Goddess of the night.

  1. Club Yolo

Club Yolo is a welcoming and stylish LGBTQ+ club! Yolo used to be the lesbian nightclub You-II, but sadly You-II doesn’t exist anymore.

Club Yolo Amsterdam

Yolo attracts DJs from all around the world, especially during ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event). The club is about quality music, unabashed freedom, and good vibes!

On busy nights it can get very wild here!

  1. Club Soho

Club Soho is a stylish club at the Reguliersdwarsstraat (Amsterdam’s gay street).

Club Soho Amsterdam

It’s a club open to all, though you will find many (gay) men at Club Soho.

Where to Stay in Lesbian Amsterdam?

Are you visiting lesbian Amsterdam and are looking for the best places to stay? Or are you going for a staycation in your city? Amsterdam has fantastic places to stay!

Booking accommodation in Amsterdam as a lesbian traveler should not be a problem at any hotel or hostel. But, there are some gay hotels in Amsterdam that are extra LGBTQ+ friendly that we will share with you.

We all don’t want to get those awkward questions about the fact we want a double bed, right? Or being asked if it is a fun sister’s trip to Amsterdam.

In Amsterdam, we recommend staying in one of the following areas: in the city center, the Jordaan, around the Westerpark, on the canals, or the neighborhood the Pijp.

Top things to do in Amsterdam

This way, you are closest to the top things to do in Amsterdam! And you might even get to stay in a typical and beautiful Amsterdam canal house.

And no matter if you want to splurge with a super luxurious hotel or are looking for a place when you are more on a budget, there are many options.

W Amsterdam

W Amsterdam is a hip and quite luxurious hotel. This hotel brand attracts the younger generations and is generally super LGBTQ+ friendly.

We love the swimming pool on the rooftop of W Amsterdam, overlooking the city. Plus, it has an excellent bar for drinks.

Pulitzer Amsterdam

Every year with Amsterdam Pride, the Pulitzer Amsterdam hotel organizes events like a Pride brunch! So if you visit Amsterdam during Pride, this is especially the place to stay.

It’s a modern and traditional style hotel located in different 17th and 18th-century canal houses. It’s a fantastic place!

De L’Europe Amsterdam

De L’Europe Amsterdam offers luxurious rooms in the heart of Amsterdam. The 5-star hotel lies next to the Amstel river.

Within 10 minutes of walking, you can reach famous Amsterdam landmarks such as Dam Square, the flower market, the Begijnhof, and de Negen Straatjes.

But the hotel itself also has lots to do, as it features a Michelin star restaurant, another restaurant with a terrace overlooking the canal, a bar serving excellent drinks, and a spa.

If you want luxury in Amsterdam, this is the place to be.

The Student Hotel Amsterdam City

No, this is not just a place for students! And it’s not just a hotel. It’s a hub for co-living and co-working, where travelers, locals, and students meet, stay, work, and play.

The Student Hotel Amsterdam City offers hotel rooms for a short stay and student accommodation for students wanting to live in Amsterdam for a more extended period.

The Hoxton

The Hoxton is a beautiful trendy hotel located in 5 canal houses in the city center of Amsterdam. Close to everything and right on the canals, the location is perfect.

The Hoston is the place you never want to leave after arriving.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

We love the beautiful monumental building of the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam hotel.

The hotel is a traditional-style hotel located on the banks of the Amstel river, offering panoramic views of the city and river.

The location is quieter than the other hotels mentioned above, but you can easily reach the city center by public transport, by foot or by taxi from here.

Volkshotel Amsterdam

The Volkshotel Amsterdam has rooms for everyone, from more expensive luxurious rooms to cheaper rooms with shared bathrooms. If you are on a budget, those rooms with a shared bathroom are perfect.

On the rooftop, they offer a mini spa with a sauna and three hot tubs, which is the best. Plus, a restaurant on the rooftop provides excellent views of the city.

Generator Amsterdam

Generator Amsterdam is located in the East, a bit further from the top spots in the city center. This trendy designer hostel is lovely to stay in! In general, we love Generator hostels all around the world.

It’s next to the Oosterpark, with many great bars and restaurants nearby. De Biertuin Oost, Louie Louie, and Bar Bukowski are all popular amongst locals.

Lesbian Amsterdam Map

Are you wondering where you can find all these fantastic places in lesbian Amsterdam? Check our Amsterdam map!

Enjoy gay Amsterdam! Do you have any questions or want to add something to this guide?  Drop it below or send us a message.

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If you enjoyed this queer and lesbian Amsterdam guide, don’t forget to share it with all your friends and family! Thank you so much!

MORE TO READ:

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The Ultimate Travel Guide to LGBT+ Amsterdam | Once Upon A Journey LGBT Travel Blog

Silly Little Kiwi Blog

Saturday 15th of June 2019

This is such amazing information! I was in Amsterdam in 2017, but it seems like I missed a lot-- will definitely need to go back!

Roxanne & Maartje

Thursday 20th of June 2019

It's never a bad idea to revisit Amsterdam ?

Once Upon a Journey