April 1, 2021: The Netherlands celebrates 20 years of gay marriage

April 1, 2021: The Netherlands celebrates 20 years of gay marriage

April 1 marks 20 years to the day since the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. Since that momentous day, 20.000 gay and lesbian couples have gotten married. 

World’s first same-sex wedding in the Netherlands

At midnight on April 1, 2001, then-mayor Job Cohen married three gay couples and one lesbian couple in a joint ceremony at the City Hall in Amsterdam. Up until that point, same-sex couples could only enter into a registered partnership.

Of the 20.000 married same-sex couples in the Netherlands today, approximately 2.500 of them were married in 2001. Anne-Marie Thus and Helène Faasen were the first lesbian couple to be married, and are celebrating their 20th anniversary on Thursday. “We love eachother,” says Thus, who now lives together with her wife in Maastricht.

Amsterdam home to the most gay couples

Date released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has revealed that, perhaps unsurprisingly, Amsterdam is home to the most same-sex couples: 45 out of 1.000 married couples in the capital are same-sex couples, compared to a national average of 17 out of 1.000.

Since 2015, registered partnerships have become increasingly popular amongst both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Over the last five years, 44 percent of gay couples and 39 percent of lesbian couples have opted for partnerships over marriage. Researchers also looked into divorce rates among homosexual couples, and found that lesbian couples are more likely to divorce than gay or straight couples.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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