Amsterdam almost the most LGBTQI friendliest city in the world?

Amsterdam is the second LGBTQI friendliest city according to a study published by a German house rental internet platform. Madrid was placed number one and Toronto number three. As Amsterdam LGBTQI people we were honored and (pleasantly) surprised with these results. So how was this measured and what does it mean?

Who did the research?

Nestpick is a German online platform for renting furnished apartments and rooms for expats. They offer places for rent in hundreds of cities around the world. As part of their marketing they give tips to people how it is to live in different cities. So they regularly research how people rate cities. In the past they have rated cities for millennial and now they asked many LGBTQI people how they rated their city. According to the researchers they questioned 2500 LGBTQI people living in Amsterdam as part of this research.

How did they put the numbers together?

The researchers used five measures to rank the different cities. These were:

  1. opportunities to date in a city
  2. quality of nightlife
  3. openness or tolerance of fellow citizens towards LGBTQI people
  4. how much anti LGBQTI violence there is in a city
  5. legal framework for equal rights for LGBTQI people (think equal marriage rights, possibility to change gender etc.)

The first three measures were researched in the questionnaire among the LGBTQI people. The measure on violence was compiled by looking at official reports by the local authorities. The legal framework measurement was compiled by looking at local laws.

This resulted in the following list for the top 5 cities.

Dating Nightlife Openness Safety LGBTQI rights Total
Madrid 4,63 4,87 4,87 4,19 5 23,56
Amsterdam 4,81 4,66 4,72 4,07 5 23,26
Toronto 4,6 4,57 4,78 3,74 5 22,69
Tel Aviv 4,72 4,81 4,81 4,23 4 22,57
London 4,94 4,97 4,94 2,61 5 22,46


Amsterdam is on these measures never a top city, but thanks to the average high scores it climbs to the second place.

Reactions to these results

Reactions in Amsterdam were mixed. Of course many people were proud and celebrated this news with joyful tweets and Facebook messages. Some people were a little bit more skeptical. Who were these 2500 people in Amsterdam, who answered the questionnaires? If you consider that roughly 800.000 people live in Amsterdam and roughly 10% are LGBTQI, than 2500 on a population of 80.000 LGBTQI people is a large number. People were saying that none of their LGBQTI friends had been asked to fill in the poll.

And some people were also surprised with the high score on the measure of safety. In the last year there had been a few incidents of anti-LGBTQI violence in the city. When this Nestpick score came out, people were suspicious about their validity.

Our view

Street party Zeedijk, July 31 2015
Street party Zeedijk, July 31 2015

We think that many of these kind of reports need to be taken with a grain of salt. They are mainly a way to create publicity for a company who publishes the report. And there are already many other reports in which cities are compared with each other.

Their might however be some validity in the outcome of this research. In a report published by the Dutch LGBTQI organisation COC Amsterdam LGBTQI people gave a 8 out of 10 for the sense of security in the city. The researchers found a correlation between the level of being out and the sense of security. In other words: the more out a person is the more secure she or he feels in the city.

And more confident and out people, means more open and out people available to date. Or more people who go to parties. That contributes to the on average good scores and therefore to the relative high position of Amsterdam. In this case the strength of the LGBTQI crowd in Amsterdam creates the strength of the LGBTQI city.