Dutch Cold War homophobia history

This 5 August 2017 video is about the Canal Parade during the Amsterdam Pride.

During the 1950s, there was Cold War homophobia in Britain, in Canada and also in the Netherlands.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio:

The municipality of Amsterdam refused to employ gay people in the nineteen fifties

Today, 11:42

The municipality of Amsterdam investigated in the nineteen fifties whether applicants were gay. This is evident from so-called ‘homo lists’ found in the city archives. If it was decided by civil servants that someone was homosexual, then that person did not get a job at the municipality.

A committee of five municipal officials examined a person’s moral behavior at the time. Whether a job applicant was homosexual was examined, among other things, by interrogating neighbors and friends. Applicants were also asked questions about their orientation.


“When you look back, you wonder what those people were doing”, said researcher Eric Heijselaar of the Amsterdam City Archives in the NOS Radio 1 News. He found the lists by chance. “They go deeply into people’s privacy and that is shameful.”

The lists were found last year. …

Not only LGBTQ people were barred by the municipality of Amsterdam. Family members or friends could also be refused. “They asked whether the mother of a man who went to homosexual environments was still suitable for a job at the municipality,” says Heijselaar.

The City Archives suspects that other municipal archives also have such lists. The association for homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people COC wants an investigation into the treatment of homosexuals by the municipality of Amsterdam.

Especially police driving force of Amsterdam 1950s homophobia: here.
In 1962, ‘liberal’ Dutch weekly Vrij Nederland still wrote sympathetically about ‘curing’ gay people by torturing them.

5 thoughts on “Dutch Cold War homophobia history

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