A while back Janna send Leontine and author Blaine D. Arden an e-mail to meet up. Not just to meet up at any place either but at the annual Amsterdam Canal Pride. We all agreed it would be a wicked good idea and I had my calendar marked. Unfortunately, Janna came to the realization that she and her hub had booked a holiday to the lovely warm and sunny Greece at the same time. That didn’t stop us, however, so the date was still on with the promise to send Janna many a picture. Only two days before the big event, Leontine realized she was not feeling too well to be able to meet up. So two man down, Blaine and I still decided to go ahead with the meet. And we both had no regrets about that at all.
For those who have never been to the Amsterdam Canal Pride or have never even heard of it, a little history. The Amsterdam Gay Pride is an annual event held in the first week of August, dating back to 1996. The origins of the Amsterdam Gay Pride date back to the seventies and to an annual event called the “Roze Zaterdag” (Pink Saturday). For those who are interested, there is a whole history on Wikipedia.
The Canal Pride is actually the highlight of a week focused on gay culture that involves meetings, shows, cultural events, dances that spans everything from cinema’s to churches. (There was one church in the city centre with a big pride flag on the outside of the church!).
Every year the pride week has a theme and this year it was “On the Move.”
Blaine and I agreed to meet up at the Starbucks at Amsterdam Central Station and arriving there, it; was clear something big was going on and even the NS (The Dutch Railways) were in on it with pink balloons and posters everywhere. Despite me having my issues with the NS, it was a very nice iniative.
After a short wait, Blaine showed up in all her glory and it was on. We were talking non-stop while walking through Amsterdam, giving Blaine an abbreviated tour as she’d never been to Amsterdam. Of course I took her through the “Amsterdamse Wallen” – the hooker/prostitute neighborhood of Amsterdam with the window prostitution and the many outrageous sex shops.
All the while we were talking like we’ve been meeting up for years. Talking books, authors, reviews, hot man and what not.
From 14.00 the boats took the route from the beginning of the Prinsengracht at the Westerdok harbor on to the Amstel River and passing several Amsterdam landmarks to the Oosterdok.
Blaine and I were waiting patiently with our cameras at the ready and still talking a mile a minute until the boats arrived. As the pictures show there was a great variety of boats. Some extremely flashy to more conservative. There was music, dancing, feather, leather and skimpy underwear.
- A boat with Turkish people on it. It’s a very closed culture so for them to have their own boat with Turkish flags is a big thing
- The boat with people from the Ministry of Defense
- The Gay Escort boat. What can I say? Only in Holland!
- Willy’s Sex Shop boat with a hot guy in few clothes in a great big Martini glass.
Despite the occasional shower, Blaine and I had an awesome time. It was great to see the Canal Pride for real this time, instead of on the TV and pictures. It’s definitely an event you have to have seen at some point. It’s amazing to have so many people supporting the gay culture in one place and having so much fun at the same time. We stayed almost until the end, but had to leave because of cramped legs and full bladders.
Though I have to say… what on earth was the guy in the skimpy white underwear thinking? That was soooooooooo a no no. As were the guys in the wrestle outfits. We really didn’t need to see your trapped hard on! ;-)
Link to the English website of the Amsterdam Gay Pride. The site also contains more pictures along with background information.
I made a short movie with my camera to give you an impression of one of the boats