This past weekend, tens of thousands of people participated in the annual Amsterdam Canal Parade on and off the water. The parade is the culmination of nine days of events for Amsterdam Gay Pride – this year was it’s 18th year.
80 boats full of glamorous, extravagant and sometimes plainly dressed gay guys, lit up the Amsterdam Canals for over four hours.
If you’d like to see the entire parade go by, watch this YouTube video provided by the Dutch TV station AVRO, with English commentary:
For the first time ever, the Dutch Soccer Union participated in the parade on their very own boat. The League coach Louis van Gaal as well as old soccer stars Ronald de Boer and Patrick Kluivert were present. They wanted to show that they are open to a safe and open climate within football, where every person can be who they are.
The Amsterdam Canal parade is one of the most popular pride’s in Europe. Amsterdam showcases its open spirit by welcoming several government ministers. The Ministry Of Defence and the Finance Ministry even had their own boats!
Many participants in this years parade visibly criticised Russian president Putin and his latest anti-gay policies, with many people holding banners and placards denouncing this terrifying new stance by the Russian government.
As a part of the EPOA board (the licensing body of EuroPride), I was invited by Amsterdam Pride to experience a few days of this marvellous event. Amsterdam Pride are bidding for the 2016 EuroPride license, competing with Barcelona Pride. I’ve not been to Barcelona’s Pride yet, but I’ve never I seen such a well organised event with so many wonderful and motivated volunteers as here in Amsterdam.
The best part for me was being on a private boat taking part in the Canal Parade. I’ve been on trucks in pride parades before, but this was totally different! The atmosphere, the people, the joy, the pride – Amsterdam Pride, you have a fan for life!