Tales of Amsterdam

Stories about the city

Stories and tales about the city. Things to do, places to go, people to meet. Amsterdam has been a magnet for centuries and has not lost his charm. Special Amsterdam Tours has been in Amsterdam for 30 years and we want to give you our experience, dreams and thoughts about the city we love.

Eberhard van der Laan… the mayor of Amsterdam...

As a member of the gay community it is very rare to find a straight man to stand in front of us. To fight our cause for us. 

Only recently I was told by a modestly known Dutch actor to get fucked as I was to uptight according to him.

I thought that was the equivalent of telling a woman to get fucked or raped, cos she did not do what the straight man liked. So I asked him if he was a homophobe.?

But as he told me he was not homophobic as he had not one, not two but three gay friends. Really? I am lost with words.

But thank God not all straight men are as petty and childish as this actor that has to get by, by doing commercials.

In 2014 Russian president Poetin visited Amsterdam celebrating 400 years of relations with the Dutch. In the 17th Century Tsar Peter the Great had visited the Dutch Republic and had taken inspiration from it to modernize his country. Hence St. Petersburg is inspired by Amsterdam.

This was around the time that Poetin introduced the anti gay propaganda laws.

Poor Russians, reading or seeing gays might make you gay. So a new law was introduced. The Dutch abolished such a  law in 1971 in the Netherlands.

During a dinner that was offered to the Russian president in the Maritime museum in the presence of then Queen Beatrix. The mayor could not be at the dinner of president Putin because of prior engagements but he did not seem to mind that.

The lgbt community got together on the bank of the river and screamed as loud as we could, in order to be heard by Poetin.

Another day on the Museumplein we listened to the speech of mayor Eberhard van der Laan. 

The mayor was wearing the rainbow chain around his neck, for the first time worn by mayor Patijn during the opening of the Gay Games in Amsterdam in 1998. This gesture alone was touching.

Walking around the large square where the  Ballet Russe was performing. I run in to the mayor. 

I walk up to him and thank him for what he has done, while he holds my hand and looks at me and then my friend Dick. He says the never forgotten words “ I do it for you”

Only later do I realize that he thought Dick and I were a gay couple and although I love my friend Dick very much. He is also very straight and married.

Protocol dictated that the mayor was the host for the Russian president during the dinner at the Maritime musuem. However urban legend has it that the mayor had made up an excuse not to be present at the dinner with the Russian president and the Queen. 

Instead he sent his deputy elderwoman Olongron. An openly lesbian woman married to another woman with children.

Question is did the Russian president know that he shook the hand of an openly gay woman?

It is a wonderful thing to realize that a straight man in his position did not just utter political correct words but watched over his LGBT in his city.

Sadly Mayor Eberhard van der Laan has passed away but he is not forgotten.


The future of tourism, Henk, your LGBT tour guide speaks out in this Podcast

Henk on tourism, by the Low Season podcasts.