the city pink and prepare to party at Amsterdam’s infamous annual Lesbian and
Gay Pride event which happens annually on the first weekend in August.
This high octane weekend is so established
in Amsterdam’s party calendar that it attracts an extra half a million visitors
to the city from all over the world. Expect an exceptionally loud and friendly
party spirit around the city and there’s definitely an extra energetic buzz in
town during the days leading up to the big weekend.
It is no accident that Amsterdam Gay Pride
has grown into such a huge event. The city with its famous ‘live and let live’
attitude itself has been something of a safe holiday magnet to lesbians and gay
men for decades. The Netherlands made a major statement with regard to
sexuality equality when it became the first country in the world to legalise
same-sex marriage back in 2001. Indeed homosexuality itself was decriminalised
as far back as 1811 in the Netherlands, some 156 years before even the United
Kingdom! Drinking establishments denoted as specifically gay have been in
existence in the Netherlands since 1927. Most importantly Amsterdam’s trail
blazing and respected COC, one of the world’s very first lesbian and gay rights
organisations was established in the city back in 1946 and fiercely continues
its work today. Even an apparently relaxed and enlightened city as Amsterdam
still has to deal daily with acts of homophobia.
In 1988 Amsterdam was
proud to be the host city to the very first ever Gay Games sporting event when
7,300 athletes took part in 27 separate sports. Another world first was the
introduction of a unique war memorial, the Homomonument, specifically dedicated
to the lesbians and gay men who died in World War II. Since it’s inauguration
in 1987 it has come to symbolise the daily struggle of lesbians and gay men
around the world facing oppression, denial, discrimination and violence. A
visit to the monument is something of a pilgrimage for many, a place for quiet
reflection and personal remembrance. It is likely you will see flowers,
photographs and candles left here at the water’s edge by visitors from all over
If you are visiting Amsterdam during the
week before Gay Pride weekend then you will likely notice a host of cultural
events being held throughout the city.
Established city museums and art galleries host special exhibitions,
lectures and film screenings. From Thursday onwards many of the city’s central
streets start to become decorated and stages are erected in preparation for the
hundreds of thousands of street revellers expected to descend on Amsterdam for
Pride Canal Parade
If you are expecting a quiet leisurely
weekend wandering around the city’s infamous sleepy canals then you may want to
choose a different weekend or at least leave your canal tour until Sunday. The Saturday
lunchtime sees the much anticipated focus of the Pride festival – the Gay Pride
Canal Parade. A seemingly endless magical flotilla of brightly decorated boats
full of dancing, waving, partying revellers weaves its way noisily along the
city’s canals. The canal towpaths and bridges are also jam-packed with a no
less exuberant crowd who cheer and wave back as the boats sail by. In some
instances the giddy (or drunk) spectators have been known to dive into the
water to climb aboard the boats and join in the parade. Music blasts out across
the city and atmosphere is absolutely electric.
Don’t worry there is no entrance fee to
watch the parade but we would recommend you mark out exactly where you want sit
or stand to get the best view of the parade at least two hours in advance. The
bridges are the perfect location to get a bird’s eye view of the proceedings.
It’s also a great place for interacting with the happy revellers on the boats.
Bring a picnic with you in a bag and lots of liquids as the parade can take
several hours to pass along the canal as there are just so many boats. Why not
dress up and join in the carnival spirit?
drink and sing.
The city has several well established gay
areas in the very heart of the centre and perfectly close to many of our
excellent short stay self-catering apartments. So don’t worry, you won’t have
far to get home after partying all night! Take your pick from the glorious
Amstel at the edge of the Rembrandtplein, the delightful winding Zeedijk, close
to Central Station, the broad Reguliersdwarsstraat alongside the Flower Market
or the earlier mentioned Homomonument next to the Anne Frank House Museum.
Wherever you choose to visit in the city centre this weekend, you will find a
warm and welcoming no-attitude party atmosphere suitable for all the family.
find out the latest Amsterdam Gay Pride information at: