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Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade 2018

On Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018 Amsterdam’s 23th Gay Pride Canal Parade will take place.

It is the largest gay pride event in the Netherlands, and one of the largest in the world.

The annual boat parade, which sees the canals lined by over half a million spectators, demonstrates and celebrates the diversity of Holland’s gay and lesbian community.

Hugely popular event. Book your hotel early.

Amsterdam gay pride canal boat parade

Gay and Lesbian employees of the City of Amsterdam — flying the flag of Amsterdam. [By the way, here’s what those crosses stand for]

The canal parade is part of Amsterdam Gay Pride week: Saturday July 28, through Sunday August 5, 2018.

The information below is archived from a previous year.

This page will be updated well before the 2018 event takes place.

Amsterdam Gay Pride Parade: 80 boats, half a million visitors

Fantastic atmosphere during the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade 2017

The Amsterdam gay pride parade includes 80 decorated party boats filled party-minded gays, lesbians and friends.

In recently years many Dutch and international companies have had their own floats at the parade, proudly showing off their commitment to diversity.

The Amsterdam Police Corps, the City of Amsterdam, and — one year — even the military have entered their own boats. The Ministry of Defense has its own boat. So has the Ministry of Security and Justice.

The Canal Parade is Amsterdam’s second-largest public event — topped only by King’s Day

Political parties, Amsterdam’s public transport company GVB, several hospitals, and water authority Waternet also take part.

We’ve also seen special boats, such as one for gay and lesbian teenagers (ages 11 through 17), some of whom were accompanied by their parents.

‘Heilig Bootje’ — Little Holy Boat — carried gay- and lesbian Christians.


Amsterdam: Tolerant and Diverse

The parade — which features dancers, music and, er, ‘more’ on about 80 decorated boats — is also seen as a way in which the city of Amsterdam can officially show how tolerant and diverse it is. Amsterdam city officials have their own boat in the parade.

Parades have seen also included boats supporting specific related ’causes’ — such as the plight of homosexual and lesbian Muslims.

The Amsterdam Gay Pride Parade is billed as a ‘feast of visibility.’ It is, according to Amsterdam’s official website, “an important feast for all of the Netherlands, where tolerance towards homosexual men, lesbian women, bisexuals and transgenders appears to be under some pressure.”

The parade is the highlight of a week-long Gay Pride Festival, from Saturday July 29, through Sunday August 6, 2017. The week-long celebration includes some 160 events throughout the city.

But the highlight definitely is the canal parade.

It starts at 2:00 pm at the beginning of the Prinsengracht at the Westerdok harbor. At the end of the Prinsengracht, the parade turns left onto the Amstel river, passing the famous Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) and then past the combined City Hall/Music Theater to the Oosterdok harbor, where the boats are expected to arrive at about 6 pm.

gay canal parade in Amsterdam

The Gay Pride Canal Parade is one of Amsterdam’s most popular summer events.

Along the 6 kilometer (3.7 mile) route, hundreds of thousands of spectators join the party, cheering and dancing to the music — either on the bridges, alongside the canals, or in and on boats moored there.

While Holland, and Amsterdam in particular, is known for its tolerance, in recent years changes in Dutch society have been cause for concern.

BEWARE: Up to half a million people will line the canals to watch the parade of boats. Pickpockets will be out in force as well. Despite the presence of uniformed and undercover police, be alert. Watch your valuables.

The influx of Muslims, many of whom are intolerance toward all things not condoned by Islam, worries and upsets many Dutch people.

From time to time homosexual men have been attacked — usually if they find themselves walking in a quiet spot in the middle of the night. (The attackers are cowards, after all).

On the bright side, the attacks — which appear to have subsided since about the start of 2013 — have highlighted the fact that tolerance cannot be taken for granted.

Photos taken by the Police helicopter show records crowds along Westerkerk at Prinsengracht.

The Dutch consider an event like this to be, among other things, gezellig

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This post was last updated: Sep. 29, 2017