Amsterdam's Gay Pride. Because it's a city affair.
Updated: May 17, 2019
How the Dutch and the international community celebrate Pride in Amsterdam is something that we all could learn something from.
Living in the U.S. we seem to think that we have the best Pride celebrations like San Francisco, New York City and L.A. But there’s something unique about Amsterdam and it’s the sense of inclusion. The entire town is a party and we are all invited to be part of it. More diversity, more inclusion and definitely more acceptance. I guess it’s more related to celebrating love, just love.
I was lucky enough to be in Amsterdam for the Gay Pride celebrations. I was actually in Europe and managed to squeeze in a quick flight to the festivities as I had heard that this is Amsterdam’s best holiday.
We stayed at the Canal House, as this has become our home away from home whenever in town. Smartly located on Keizersgracht canal is close to many restaurants, bars, the flower market, The Royal Palace and the unique Red Light District. When we arrived to the Canal House we happened to get invited to their Ambassador’s party in their own backyard, our friend Kristel and the rest of the crew were there and make sure to make us feel like family whenever visiting. Here we met so many of the interesting, smart and cool locals that make this town so especial. After that visit we became friends with some of them and still today we’re in contact.
The best highlight of the festivities is the Boat Parade, which happens on Saturday. On a sunny Summer day we managed to walk around the Prinsegracht and Keizersgracht canals to find our spot in the middle of the crowds where we could see all the boats floating by. Surrounded by so many people from so many different places we shared champagne, beer, bananas and many other local snacks.
By the end of the day we were friends with all of them around us, coming from The Netherlands and outside of the country. It was just so fun to see all the elaborated decorations on the boats, with the sound of bottles of champagne popping here and there, the beautiful lush trees covering just enough of the sun, a cool breeze passing through and making it a perfect Summer day to celebrate.
At the end of the parade, the restaurants and bars open their doors to become part of the festivities. Anyone and everyone is welcomed and they really make you feel part of it. All people are out, families with kids, people of all ages, laughing, loving, celebrating love, making out, and it’s all ok. There’s no judgement, it definitely has the environment that we all are there for the same reason, to celebrate with all just be human, loving.
At dusk, once the night has settled, the party goes on and the clubs are packed and happening with many parties. Our favorite clubs include Prick which has a dance floor and is low key where you can mingle with others and enjoy some good music. Also, The Eagle is located in the Red Light District, this popular leather bar is a little more adventurous like its other locations in the world, here they had great DJs with more electronic music and other ways to explore love for the more adventurous.
On Sunday there’s a big concert right next to The Royal Palace, this one serving as a backdrop while singers and performers sing some tunes to make the crowd have some more fun, beer and dance. Great space to meet with friends and meet other locals, they all keep being so friendly and making you feel part of the town.
Since the moment we arrived to Amsterdam we felt part of the community and the celebrations. It was an experience of lifetime and much different from other international Gay Pride celebrations. I do like and enjoy pride in the U.S. it was just a different way to experience it in the city of canals.
After a few days in Amsterdam the city slowly came back to normal after an explosion of color and love for days. It all felt so good and now I understand why the locals call it the best celebration of The Netherlands.