Bare with me here, because I’ve had to find out about this through translated news articles, but from what I can gather one of the more popular gay clubs in Amsterdam, The Cockring, was raided for drugs earlier this month.
On Friday June 11th, over a hundred police officers raided the club. The roughly one hundred patrons there at the time were brought to the police station where there were searched. A couple of people were arrested for trafficking, and a couple more for possession. The club is still closed because of the incident.
I originally heard about this through word of mouth, and I couldn’t believe it. Amsterdam has had a rough time recently living up to its gay tourist destination reputation. There have been a few incidents of attacks on gay men over the last month. Also, a couple of popular bars on one of the main gay streets shut down due to bankruptcy. With pride happening in a little over a month, violence, fear of police searches and another club closing down ain’t great.
It’s also a little scary. The Cockring is a mens only, bear / leather type crowd, with some pretty heavy techno on the dance floor. I’ve been there before for drinks and dancing with some friends, and I’d be naive if I didn’t think there were drugs there, but would never expect to be dragged to a police station simply for attending a club. Apparently the police officers were only allowed (or only were able) to speak Dutch, so that would have really sucked for me, or any other tourists out for a good time.
This smells like targeting to me. I don’t know anything about Dutch law really, so I can only speculate, but there’s got to be some rights that are violated here. I am going to be missing Amsterdam pride this year, as I’ll be in Cologne for the Gay Games. I originally was sad that I wasn’t going to be here for it, now I’m actually glad.
Don’t come to Amsterdam for gay tourism, unless you want to spend part of your night in jail.