5 top picks of Pride Amsterdam
Amsterdam is never as vibrant as it is during Pride. The celebration is one of the largest of its kind, and attracts over 350 thousand people every year. Pride lasts for a week, and central events include the Pride Walk, the Canal Parade and the Pride Closing Party. But there’s a full calendar with dozens of events, and these might be difficult to navigate, so we suggest you plan ahead and use a good guide.
That being said, here are our top five picks that you should not miss.
Pride Walk & Pride Park
July 29, 11:00 – 24:00
This year’s Pride Walk marches under the slogan ‘Marching with Pride’, and aims to raise awareness about the 76 countries where homosexuality remains criminalised. Supporters and activists will gather at the Homomonument and head out walking to Vondelpark, where Pride Amsterdam will be officially launched around 1PM.
The park will be abuzz with markets and activities, including organised sporting events such as rugby, self-defence and women’s football. There will be plenty of opportunities for kids to have fun as well, including ball games, dance and playing fields dedicated to the youth. Meanwhile in the outdoor theatre, expect stellar performances from the likes of Shary-An, Loïs Lane, Sjors van der Panne and of course Anita Meyer.
Pride at the Beach
July 31 – August 2
Pride at the Beach is a new annual event spread over three days, and starts with a special Pride Express train that visitors can take from Amsterdam to Zandvoort. The festival kicks off at 15:00 with a parade leading everyone down the boulevard to Raadhuisplein square, where deputy mayor Gerard Kuipers will give the opening speech. Expect performances by Anita Meijer, Niki Today, Shary-An and others right afterwards.
The next two days will be packed with beach parties and performances, star-studded line-ups and lots of sporting events. Pride at the Beach will close with a massive party at Club Nautique, featuring the Heeren van Aemstel band, and a spectacular fireworks display courtesy of Holland Casino.
The world’s leading sporting event for drag queens and kings returns for the 13th year in a row. Head to the Homomonument in Westermarkt to watch or take part in one of the many traditional events like the Handbag Toss or the 100m Stiletto Sprint, or the newer but equally fabulous Equestrian Dressage. Games are open to all kings and queens with heels and wigs, and qualified beauticians will be on site to help with any cosmetic emergencies.
Pride Film Night
August 1, 20:00 – 22:30
This year’s Pride Film Night features two important films that you simply shouldn’t miss. The short fiction ‘Scar Tissue’ follows a Syrian refugee Sami who has fled his war-torn country for the safety of Amsterdam, where he hopes to be able to live as an openly-gay man. Chance introduces him to Johan, a sensual and self-assured man who embodies the spirit of Amsterdam.
The longer, feature-length documentary ‘Dream Boat’ lets you spend a whole week on an all-gay cruise ship full of fun and friendship. The documentary gives a nod to the extravagant and body-beautiful lifestyles, and moves past them to explore the heavier stuff. Identity, sexuality and private thoughts and desires are explored over the course of many evenings the director spends with the protagonists.
The Canal Parade is likely the most well-known Amsterdam Pride event. 80 LGBT organisations will be represented this year, as the boats journey the six kilometres between Oosterdok and Westerdok. This year’s Canal Parade starts at 13:00, an hour earlier than usual, and concludes at Westerdok at about 15:00. Some of the especially noteworthy boats this year include the LGBT youth Suicide Prevention Boat, and the Iranian Boat – here to make strong statement against the execution of LGBT people in Iran. The canals get very crowded very quickly, so if you’re hoping to secure a spot to watch the parade, make sure you get there early!
This is just a brief taste of what’s coming up at this year’s Pride Amsterdam. For more details and the full event agenda, visit the official Pride Amsterdam website.
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