Is the Netherlands really gay-friendly?

A new CBS study reveals that, despite the Netherlands' gay-friendly ethos, homosexual men and women here experience more violence, crime and disrespect than their straight counterparts.

Statistics of fear

In this study, a third of gay men and nearly 40% of lesbians living in this country reported that they occasionally feel disrespected by both strangers and friends. But this is not as worrying as correspondents' responses concerning how safe they feel in their own neighbourhoods.

Only 20% of heterosexual women stated that they felt threatened in their neighbourhood. Meanwhile, nearly one in three gay women said that they did not feel safe in their area. There was a similar pattern for male respondents; compared to straight men, almost twice as many gay men said they felt unsafe in their districts.

Violence, Intolerance & Disrespect

The study observes that not only do non-straight men and women feel less safe living in this country - they are also statistically more likely to be victims of crime.

Last year, 30% of homosexuals living in the Netherlands were victims of crime. Once again, their straight neighbours fared better, with only 20% reporting victimisation.

Furthermore, between five and six percent of homosexual correspondents said that they had been treated violently - twice the rate of heterosexuals. As well as physical violence and violent threats, non-straight citizens are 50% more likely to fall victim to crimes such as theft, vandalism and burglary.


Although it doesn’t explicitly recommend any course of action, this report nonetheless reveals the difficulties experienced by non-straight individuals living here.

Importantly, it contradicts the popular assumption that the Netherlands offers a unanimously welcoming and friendly environment for its homosexual citizens. 

Despite its status as a paradigm of tolerance in Europe, clearly the Netherlands has a long way to go before true equality is reached between hetero- and homo-sexual individuals.

Elzi Lewis


Elzi Lewis

Elzi swapped rainy Manchester for (rainier) Amsterdam a year ago, and has never looked back. Having just finished an MA at the University of Amsterdam, she is both excited and...

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