Rotterdam has an enormous cultural diversity, with inhabitants from all over the world. And because of the multitude of cultures and backgrounds, everyone can be themselves in the open-minded harbor city. After all – Rotterdam won the bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest for a reason! The event is scheduled to take place in 2021. The city also hosts its own events, such as the annual Rotterdam Pride. And even throughout the year you can enjoy a range of artistic and open-minded events, bars and cafés. Even though the offering may be limited this summer, a lot of clubs and venues have scheduled alternative (online) events. Please visit their Facebook pages for the most up-to-date information.
Open-minded bars en events
When it comes to clubs, wine bars, art tours and live music, Rotterdam has got it all. With a bit of help from the local Facebook groups, you will know exactly where to go.
Grand café, live music venue, restaurant and club in one, FERRY’s urban atmosphere and trendy menu make it a popular spot among the LGBTQ+ community in Rotterdam. FERRY also has a great agenda for live music, ranging from performances by young emerging artists and DJs – and once a month the café turns into a pumping club.
Strano, De Regenboog and NostraVan Oldenbarneveltstraat 154, 148A and 127A
On this small street you will find three hotspots just a few doors down from each other. Strano is a small, but busy and cosy café where you can dance late into the night while enjoying a range of cocktails. Bar De Regenboog is especially popular among fans of traditional Dutch party music. Decked out with disco balls, it’s always time to party at De Regenboog. Across the street you will find Nostra, a wine bar and restaurant popular among the LGBTQ+ community. Nostra is the perfect place for an extended lunch with afternoon wine. We recommend you book in advance to ensure a spot!
You will find no less than two clubs in this iconic former grain silo. The top floor is home to NOW&WOW, a popular club known for its open-minded, artistic vibe. Downstairs you will find the Maassilo, the hotspot for parties and concerts where popular gay events Cocktail Fest and Herr Zimmermann take place. Check their Facebook pages for the up-to-date livestream agenda.
According to the local Facebook communities, you haven’t really experienced Rotterdam’s ‘pink’ nightlife without a visit to Café Keerweer. This café, named after the street on which it’s located, has been one of the most famous Rotterdam gay-friendly bars for years. The café opens at 4pm, but the fun really starts after midnight. As Keerweer is open all night, all of Rotterdam end up at this café until the early hours of the morning. So if you’re out and not ready to go home just yet, it’s time to go to Café Keerweer. Don’t let a closed entrance scare you off – at night, you have to enter via the back door.
The place to be for an afterparty. Bonaparte is famous for the Bona Drag Night, which takes place every six weeks. Hostesses Ruxy Bonaparte and Ynel Regalo present a fantastic show featuring guest drag queens from the highest order. The café is well visited by both famous and lesser known drag queens.
Loge ’90 is centrally located in Rotterdam, a stone’s throw from Beurs metro station. The gay-friendly café has a conservatory with large windows and an attractive terrace, making it a great spot for people-watching. Loge ’90 is best known for its Sunday afternoon happy hour, which is well-attended by a very diverse crowd. The leopard-print tapestry and colourful glass ornaments give the café that typical cosy, Rotterdam atmosphere.
Bij de Bruin attracts a mix of people for its atmosphere and delicious menu options. This friendly pub is located on the Oude Binnenweg, a popular street lined with cosy brown cafés.
This casual café and restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. VINN also frequently hosts parties and drag nights, so keep an eye on their schedule
Located in the old Delfshaven, just outside the city center, you will find Café de Ooievaar. This old quarter of the city is definitely worth a visit for its canal houses and old moored ships. Café de Ooievaar is very popular among the LGBTQ+ community, not least because of its accessible and friendly atmosphere. The café regularly organizes events – not just during Rotterdam Pride!
Every third weekend of September marks the start of Rotterdam Pride. During this annual ten-day festival, a range of organizations host events that contribute to the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. The theme for 2020 is DARE TO, calling on the community to dare to be proud of who they are. Every DARE represents a step forward for the community and a step closer to yourself. Visit the Rotterdam Pride Facebook page for more information.
Rewriters Street Art Route
Rotterdam is rich in constantly changing street art. Works of art disappear just as quickly as new art is added. Rewriters takes you on an art tour through Rotterdam. Join a guided tour or use the app to traverse six areas of Rotterdam and learn more about the city’s public art. The original art route through the centre of Rotterdam can also be followed using a free map you can download from their website.
Art and music
Rotterdam offers different venues for various types of art and live music. The members of Facebook group Rotterdam Concert Buddies share their favourite pop venues and art cafés. Make to sure to check their Facebook pages for the most up-to-date online concert agenda.
Awarded Best Pop Stage of the Netherlands 2020, Rotown offers everything from singer-songwriters to heavy guitar bands.
Home to underground music lovers, Baroeg has a strong line-up with alternative, metal and hard rock.
With jazz, soul, funk, hip-hop and electronic music all under one roof, you’re guaranteed a swinging night out at Bird.
At De Player, performance art, experimental music and visual art come together. An eccentric spot that serves its very own Player beer.
The iconic jazz café Dizzy opened in 1977. Perfect for a drink over some jazzy tunes, but also popular for lunch or dinner.
‘Different, groundbreaking music from all over the world’, as they describe it: Grounds offers world music, from latin and hip-hop to jazz and singer-songwriters.
Visit the Wilhelminapier for this artsy film house and pop stage with a programme including pop, world music and blues.
Enjoy British pub food, home-brewed beer and live music aboard this docked red lightship.
This quirky arts platform gives the stage to young musicians and other emerging talent. Roodkapje’s agenda includes various exhibitions and live events by new and undiscovered artists.
As ‘the ultimate test tube’ for alternative art productions, Worm hosts concerts, film screenings, workshops, masterclasses, festivals and other events.