The Netherlands: LGBTQ+ Rights & Advocacy

Peace, Politics, and Human Rights

Discover the Netherlands’ progressive approach to LGBTQ+ rights, gender issues, and sex education. Learn how to  become a better advocate for the community.

Peace, Politics, & Human Rights


Community Service

Physical Activity


Program Description

This program is canceled for Summer 2021, but we anticipate offering it again summer 2022. Questions? Contact us!

Travel to the Netherlands to explore the country’s longstanding progressive history of international human rights advocacy through workshops and visits with organizations that are engaged in gender and transgender issues, marriage rights, and other social justice topics.

After an orientation in Heemskerk, you will travel to Amsterdam to visit important historical and cultural landmarks, such as the Anne Frank House and the unique Artis Zoo. Seminars and workshops about LGBTQ+ rights and gender issues will give you an opportunity to investigate how intersectional issues such as immigration, race, and gender play a role in modern Dutch identity formation. You will check out a museum to learn how the history of slavery has affected black identity in the Netherlands, and you’ll visit the Rutgers World Population Foundation, one of the oldest organizations promoting sex education in the Netherlands and the world.

As you enhance your knowledge of LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy, you will have opportunities to better understand Dutch culture by sharing daily life with a local family during your homestay. You will also complete community service hours while you meet with an elderly LGBTQ+ population.

Your program will continue in The Hague, where you’ll visit the Peace Palace and the International Court of Justice. Then you’ll stop in Rotterdam to meet with LGBTQ+ youth and experience the city’s multicultural vibe. You will also take day trips to the towns of Middleburg and Cadzand in the Zeeland province.


Program Availability:

Program Suspended



Sample Itinerary

    Days 1-4

    Orientation in Heemskerk/Amsterdam

    • Learn about the history and culture of the Netherlands from experts
    • Get to know other members of your group during activities
    • Try out the Dutch way of living on a bike excursion to the Dutch coast
    • Start learning basic Dutch
    • Learn how to navigate the city
    Days 5-12

    Thematic Focus

    • Participate in workshops on sexuality and sex education and learn more about the Dutch approach to sexuality
    • Go on excursion to Utrecht and visit Rutgers/WPF, the oldest organization in the Netherlands working on sexual health and sex education
    • Visit Amsterdam Bijlmer and visit PROFOR, an organization that aims to strengthen sexual and reproductive rights of people of Afro-Caribbean descent living in the Bijlmer. Meet with black youth in the Bijlmer through New Urban Collective (NUC)
    • Learn about the Red Light District and what sex workers themselves think of their profession
    Days 13-15

    Excursion to Rotterdam and The Hague


    • Visit Europe’s largest port city and enjoy its modern architecture and multicultural atmosphere
    • Go on a LGBTQ walking tour and meet with LGBTQ youth from Rotterdam
    • Participate in a spoken-word workshop hosted by a Dutch-Moluccan queer artist and experience how poetry and spoken word can be a strong tool in the struggle for social justice and LGBTQ rights advocacy

    The Hague:

    • Visit the Humanity House and get a glimpse of what life is like for refugee coming to Europe
    • Visit the Peace Palace, the International Court of Justice, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration and learn about the Netherlands’ longstanding tradition of fighting for human rights and social justice
    Days 16-18

    Thematic Focus

    • Meet LGBTQ youth of Jong & Out and learn about LGBTQ activism
    • Meet and exchange with LGBTQ families and their children and find out about their lives and experiences


    Days 19-21

    Excursion to Middleburg, Zeeland

      • Visit the city of Middleburg
      • Have lunch in the town of Cadzand
      • Visit a local beach for swimming and shark tooth hunting
    Days 21-24

    Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Amsterdam

    • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program
    • Participate in a group photo exhibition on your perceptions of gender and sexuality in the Netherlands
    Day 24


    Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.


Itinerary is subject to change.

Past Group Leaders

  • Ryan Rockmore

    Ryan Rockmore was a third-year returning leader for The Experiment in International Living after sharing unforgettable experiences with two groups in the south of Spain. Originally from Albany, New York, he attended New York University (NYU) Steinhardt in 2011, obtaining a degree in Spanish education. After graduating from college, he was awarded a Fulbright research grant to spend a year in Sevilla, Spain, studying the connections between flamenco dance and gender. After a second year in Spain—dancing flamenco and teaching English in Madrid—Ryan completed a master’s degree with an emphasis in dance anthropology at the University of Roehampton, London. He currently teaches high school Spanish at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, and serves as the faculty co-advisor for the school’s Gay Straight Alliance.

    Ryan’s love for international adventure and cross-cultural learning began in the summer of 2005, when he traveled as an Experimenter to southern Spain—on the very same trip he would later return to lead. Ryan loves cooking, teaching, and embracing new experiences. He was thrilled to spend summer 2015 leading The Experiment’s new Netherlands: Gender Equality and Human Rights program!

  • Lena Lazar

    Lena Lazar, a Chicago native, is passionate about youth development, social justice, intercultural exchange, and advocacy work. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado and is currently working on her master’s degree at Columbia University’s School of Social Work with a specialization in family, youth, and children’s services. In addition to her graduate studies, Lena works as a case manager with Teen Parents in Action, supporting pregnant and parenting teenagers in New York City. Lena has worked with youth and in support of youth in a variety of other settings, including as a camp counselor, a cognitive development research assistant, and as an afterschool program coordinator with the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA).

    Living and studying in Ecuador piqued Lena’s love for international learning; in addition to gaining proficiency in Spanish and bonding with her host family, Lena had the opportunity to travel throughout Ecuador’s diverse and captivating geographies—from the Mindo Nambillo cloud forest, to the snow-capped Andes, to the Galapagos Islands. While in Ecuador, Lena also interned with the Center for Rights Protection, putting her Spanish language skills to use working with local children and families. Lena is a dedicated traveler and has pursued adventures throughout Canada, Mexico, Morocco, and Western Europe. When not working or traveling, Lena loves to cook, camp, and commute on her bike.

Student Voices

  • “In all my life I have had to hide who I was, what I felt, why I do what I do, but this experience has changed all of that completely. The Experiment has allowed me to see that there is a whole world out there.”

  • The program helped me become more aware of the ever growing issues regarding not only the LGBTQ+ community, but also those pertaining to human rights as well. Throughout our three week stay in the Netherlands, we participated in lectures by well-versed instructors about topics that ranged from Black diasporic music and literature to Trans* Issues in Netherlands and visited organizations such as The Hangout, a safe space for LGBTQ+ teens, in Rotterdam.

  • During the day, we participated in activities including a black heritage boat tour and an LGBTQ+ tour of the Artis Zoo, profound lectures discussing topics such as trans* issues and the African diaspora, and excursions to cities such as Utrecht and Rotterdam. In the evening, we had the opportunity to explore Amsterdam’s various diverse neighborhoods, try new restaurants, go shopping at local establishments, and converse with locals on the tram ride to our host family. The Netherlands program was structured/organized enough for us to truly learn and get a taste of Dutch culture, while it gave us enough freedom to  explore!

  • Learning about the rich history of the Netherlands while also emerging myself in LGBTQ+ knowledge was a very great opportunity. While there, I have made so many life long connections that have made me realize a lot of things about myself. By being able to explore Amsterdam, I was exposed to so many different types of people that have changed my life for the better.

  • My program was breathtaking, captivating, and utterly resonates with anyone identifying in and around the LGBTQ+ community. I was the only cis-straight gendered person in attendance of the program, but that made it all the more special to me. The trip was fantastic, educating, and breathtaking at every turn. I can’t pick a best part. There was absolutely too many to choose from. The friends I made, the connections I created with our group leaders will stay with me forever.

  • I was able to find my own identity while being surrounded by other straight and LGBTQ community members all working together to create more of a progressive society. I am absolutely in love with the Dutch Culture and obsessed with their fries (delicious).