News of: Wednesday, July 07 2010,
One of the most famous Amsterdam gay night clubs, The Cockring, has been shut down by the police, due to drug trading.
In June, the police conducted a massive raid on the night club. All visitors were taken to the near-by police station and searched for drugs and weapons.
The police found several illegal drugs, and also a can of pepperspray, which is an illegal weapon.
The police investigation showed that the club manager knew of the drug trade, and so did the doorman.
The city subsequently decided to close the Cockring - which literally means it is boarded up (see picture below).
It happens frequently in Amsterdam that clubs and bars are closed because of drug trading. While the sale of marihuana is tolerated in special 'coffeeshops', the use and trade of other drugs, such as cocaine, XTC, GHB and others, is strictly illegal. Club owners are supposed to ban any trade from the premises.
The closure of The Cockring means another blow the already ailing gay scene in Amsterdam.
Several other clubs have already closed, though for a completely different reason. The Exit (the other gay night club in Amsterdam) and the April, also in the Reguliersdwarsstraat, have also closed.
These two closures are due to a rent conflict by the owner and beer brewer Heineken, who claims millions in rent (also for other bars in Amsterdam and elsewhere).
The bars and clubs were run by the infamous (gay) entrepreneur Sjoerd Kooistra. In the midst of a series of court cases between him and Heineken, he committed suicide recently.
One of his well-known bars, the Soho, also in the Reguliersdwarsstraat was also under litigation by Heineken, but after Kooistra's suicide Heineken decided to temporarily not use the eviction notice granted by the court.
It is often commented that gay bars and clubs further suffer because of the internet as contact medium, and the general smoking ban. In addition, while there used to be more suppression of gays in other European countries, the atmosphere has generally liberalized, making Amsterdam less 'special'.
The city of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Tourist Board try to get make Amsterdam the 'gay capital' of Europe again, as it once was in the 1970's and 80's. It remains to be seen whether this policy will work.
On its own website, http://www.clubcockring.com, the Cockring advertises itself as the 'the one and only 7 days a week gay club' in Amsterdam. With its closure there appears to be no gay night club left in Amsterdam that is open 7 days a week (there are a few dance clubs with special 'gay nights').
It is unknown whether or when the Cockring will be allowed to open its doors again.
Gay club Cockring closed down