Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Autumn 2002

Gay Times Amsterdam, by John Szponarski

reviewed by Dean Braithwaite

A book review in a report on a humanist congress? All will become clear. But I’ll begin a little unconventionally by giving a big virtual hug to Stephen Gregory, one of the marketing boys at MPG.

It all started when I had the brilliant idea of enhancing my review by actually using this guide to navigate my way around Amsterdam. Brilliant, that was, until I realised that the review copies wouldn’t be available until the day before I was due to board Eurostar. And that’s when Stephen came to the rescue, pulling out all the stops to get this book to me in time for my sojourn to Holland.

Amsterdam can be described in many ways: the guide’s Foreword suggests the “Venice of the North” or the “Gayway to Europe”, while our canal-tour guide was met with stunned silence with her suggestion of the “Female City” – “wet and round”! And, as with Szponarski’s recent Gay Times London (reviewed in G&LH Summer 2002), this book is packed with much essential information – including places to stay, what to see, where to eat, what’s legal and what’s not – in the Gay Capital of Europe. What’s more, Amsterdam doesn’t restrict itself to things queer, but includes within its pages plenty of stuff on the vast array of sightseeing attractions – museums, churches, canals, etc. – that this city has to offer.

And how was the guide for finding my way around? In a word, excellent! My one suggestion for improvement would be the addition of a numbered key on the maps at the back of the book corresponding to the entries within it, to enable quicker identification while you’re on the move.

If, like me, you’re about to make your first visit to Amsterdam, then don’t leave home without it!

URI of this page :
Created : Sunday, 2002-11-03 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
Brett Humphreys :