Amsterdam, Netherlands

Queer Life & Activism

Program Suspended for Summer '21
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Narrow, winding streets and gabled 17th century rooftops, Rembrandt Square, the Flower Market and the Anne Frank house. Although Amsterdam is known for its rich artistic heritage and important historic landmarks, its mindset is definitely not stuck in the past.

Here you’ll explore issues surrounding queer identity and LGBTQ rights in one of the world’s most open-minded societies. Amsterdam makes for a fascinating case study and living laboratory for your summer studies as you delve into LGBTQ issues in the here and now – and then compare this with the state of affairs in the U.S.

Outside of class and community activism, you’ll still have time to soak up the culture and summer sun through activities and free time. Live in a hostel with friends, bike along the canals, and take in the sights and sounds of summer. Visit an open-air market, try the legendary Dutch fries with mayonnaise, and get your fill of gooey stroopwafels and puffy poffertjes and explore the different neighborhoods through local activities.

Over the month you’ll track your daily takeaways and intercultural connections in a multimedia journal – and then present your final insights in an interactive classroom presentation. Come home with lasting memories and a renewed commitment to social justice in all aspects of life.


  • Portfolio

    Portfolio items including a final multimedia journal project


    Demonstrated knowledge about LGBTQ rights and laws in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the U.S.


    A certificate of learning in Social Justice

Location & Culture

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Enjoy art, culture and camaraderie in the “queer capital of Europe.”

Amsterdam has 40 museums with a range of collections, from quirky to world-renowned. Along with ones focused on cheese, spectacles, handbags and cat culture, there are major destinations dedicated to Dutch masters and modern art. Around the city you will find one of the 40 parks close by wherever you go, which ‘Amsterdammers’ use for picnics, BBQ’s and overall relaxation. Also, did you know? Amsterdam has more canals than Venice and more bicycles than people. With 140 bicycle shops and 400 km of bike paths crisscrossing the city, it’s easy to rent, ride and get around.

Although Amsterdam has nearly 800 years of history to explore, most people associate the city with progressive politics.

The Netherlands is globally recognized as one of the most liberal and socially progressive countries in the world, a reputation which was cemented by becoming the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. This historic advancement in LGBTQ rights was in large part spearheaded by the city of Amsterdam, which has always been the epicenter of the LGBTQ movement in the Netherlands, as well as the self-declared “queer capital of Europe.” What this short history of LGBTQ rights in the Netherlands leaves out, however, is the many ways in which the struggle for equal rights for all members of the broad LGBTQ community is still an unfinished project, which profoundly impacts the reality of being LGBTQ in the Netherlands – even and especially in the city of Amsterdam.

Through the Queer Life & Activism program you will not only explore the history, now and future of LGBTQ life in the Netherlands, but by doing this together with likeminded peers you are sure to make bonds that will last a lifetime.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

"After my trip with CIEE I have definitely grown in ways I never could if I had stayed in the US."

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blogs.

  • Housing

    Hostel in Amsterdam

  • Local Support

    24/7 Support from your CIEE program leader and in-country CIEE staff members

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs


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Activities & Excursions

Sample Activities

  • Visit the Anne Frank house.
  • Take an interactive LGBTQ walking tour of the city of Amsterdam and visit the Homomonument
  •  Bike around the Hoge Veluwe, one of the Netherlands’ biggest national parks.
  • Check out the oldest gay bar in Amsterdam – now an official historical landmark and mini-museum.
  • Go canoeing in the gorgeous Amsterdam Forest and relax in nature.
  • Get in contact with local Gay-Straight Alliances to improve the lives of Dutch high school students.
  • Take a multi-day excursion to Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second-biggest city, and study the city’s iconic modern architecture and multicultural composition.
  • Visit and exchange perspectives at a local LGBTQ support group that provides a safe space for queer youth.
  • Volunteer and give back to the local community by participating in an activity that supports marginalized people in Amsterdam. 
  • Participate in a cooking workshop and learn how to make (and then eat!) one of the traditional Dutch dishes!

Download a sample itinerary ›

Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances, covid-related measures and restrictions and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees


  • Program open to all current high school students: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. 
  • For scholarship eligibility requirements, please check our Scholarship page.



Program scholarships and tuition include iNext Travel Insurance, but do not cover the cost of flights. More details about tuition inclusions can be found here.

Ready to change your life?