Amsterdam, July 25, 2009 [DutchAmsterdam.nl] — Sunday saw the start of the 14th edition of Gay Pride in Amsterdam.
Considered one of the best Gay Prides in the world, the weeklong celebration will include club parties, street parties, concerts, film showings, exhibitions, and of course the world-famous Gay Pride Canal Parade.
The theme this year is ‘Extraordinary.’ Organiser ProGay wants to underline the fact that gays are of benefit to society. According to the Foundation many heterosexuals still have stereotypical views of gays, and do not realize that gays fully participate in all levels of society.
This year’s theme is ExtraOrdinary. And exceptional is the best word to discribe the Pride. Mayor Cohen, who wed the first gay couples in the world, will marry five gay and lesbian Dutch-American Couples.
For the first time Gay Olympian champions will be lauded by the public. Education minister Plasterk will also join the party.
With 80 boats and half a million visitors the boat parade, together with the street parties, has grown into the second largest event of Amsterdam. An event where emancipation and partying go hand in hand. Where young and old, gay and straight feel at home.
This year there are even more activities than before. During the Gay Pride the whole community becomes visible in all her aspects.
This year a women’s program has been organized as well under the heading ‘LesBian Pride’ — with anything from photo exhibitions and a film festival, to an SM workshop and three women-only parties. The Lesbian events will be close off with a ‘motordykes’ motor cycle tour through Amsterdam.
From Religious Services to Drag Queen Olympics
The diversity of events organized during Amsterdam Gay Pride is enormous.
For instance, on Sunday morning a Christian open-air religious service was held on Westermarkt, next to the famous Westerkerk — the bells of which Anne Frank, a Jewish victim of Nazi intolerance, listened to while she and her family were in a nearby building during the Second World War.
Friday there will be a Pink Shabbat in the attractive Uilenburger Synagogue in the former Jewish area of Amsterdam.
A literary route takes readers to memorable places in the Amsterdam centre which appear in novels and stories, or that have played a part in the lives of pink authors.
Even Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo gets in on the act, with a Rainbow tour that focuses on homosexual behaviour, transvestites, sex changes and other interesting topics in the animal kingdom.
Then there are the Draq Queen Olypmics, billed as “the world’s premier Drag Queen sporting affair,” with events including the Handbag Throw and the 100m Stiletto Sprint.
Gay Pride Canal Parade
The annual Gay Pride boat parade event comes second in popularity only to Queen’s Day (Queen in this context referring to Royalty…). Last year half a million people lined the canals and bridges.
The parade is joined by boats carrying policitians, top sporters, Muslims, Christians, and representatives of various gay-friendly companies.
During the boat parade, Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen will be marrying five homosexual and lesbian Dutch-American couples — an event meant as a signal to America, where same-sex weddings are forbidden in most states.
The Gay Pride Canal Parade starts Saturday, August 1 at 2pm from Westerdok. Boats will sail via the Prinsengracht in the direction of the Amstel river. Past the Stopera — Amsterdam’s combined city hall/opera building — the boats sail through Zwanenburgwal, Oude Schans and Oosterdok toward the IJ.
The last boats of 80 boats will sail through the canals around 5pm. As during previous years, huge crowds are expected.
If you want front-row seating (or standing) you have to arrive early. By way of indication: the bridge and canalsides at Westerkerk (fourth canals west of Dam square) fill up more than an hour before the start of the parade. You’ll want to bring something to eat and drink.
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