Cafe t’Mandje: the oldest gay bar in Amsterdam

Adam Lowe

Cafe t’Mandje is the oldest gay bar in Amsterdam – if not the entire Netherlands. Its most infamous proprietor, Bet van Beeren, used the venue to house Jewish people in the attic, guns in the cellar and German schnapps behind the bar during the Nazi occupation. van Beeren created a safe space for the LGBT community, which remained open until the 80s. After being left to collect dust, the bar is now open again, with Bet’s original living quarters preserved upstairs for tourists and visitors to see.

Bet’s home, and the bar itself, have become so famous that the Amsterdam’s Historisch Museum contains a replica.

Opened in 1927, thousands of queer travellers have visited the bar over the decades.

After Bet passed away in 1967, her younger sister Greet ran the bar until 1982, and kept Bet’s living area in pristine condition.

Just before Greet died in 2007, she decided to reopen the bar to the public – once again offering a safe space for LGBT people to gather and drink.

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Since 2008, the venue has been run by Greet’s niece Diana.

The bar is at Zeedjik 63 in Amsterdam. You can find out more online.

About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people. He sometimes performs as Beyonce Holes.