Amsterdam hosted its 17th annual Canal Parade on Saturday, August 4—a unique event that makes use of the city’s gorgeous canal system, showcasing LGBTQ Pride on waterborne floats as an unbelievably supportive Dutch populace cheers on.
No city embraces Pride like Amsterdam, where everyone—young and old, gay and straight—gets in on the act, and a great many don pink for the occasion. As the floats—mostly big barges being pulled by tugboats—float down the canals, spectators cheer from the packed streets and bridges (or if they’re lucky, from one of the many small vessels and houseboats lining the waterways).
Launched in 1996, the Canal Parade has grown from just 20,000 people to some 500,000 in 2012—fairly amazing when you consider that the city itself only has about 800,000 residents. It’s now become Amsterdam’s largest annual public event.
More than 80 official barges participated this year, including the first Turkish float, in honor of the 400th anniversary of relations between Turkey and the Netherlands.
The Parade was just part of Amsterdam’s week-long Pride festivities, which included an LGBT history conference, sporting events, public performances (many at the city’s distinctive Homomonument), and over-the-top parties.
Click through for more images from Amsterdam’s Canal Parade 2012
Photos: Dan Allen
Was there this year, and let me tell you, this pride kicks tops all the ones in the US.
I mean the whole city really turns out to celebrate gay pride and it’s one big party.
I saw gay couples as well as straight couples in attendence, a lot with their kids.
And not a single sole in site there to protest. I fell like Amsterdam is what the US
could be if we learned to lighten up a bit.
I friggin love this city…I’ve been several times, but it’s been awhile (sucky US dollar!
On my first visit, we were sitting in a cafe and the straight dutch couple at the next table spoke english and obviously overheard us discussing what bars to go to.
This straight couple then proceeded to tell us which gay bars were best (the ones their gay friends go to) as well as other “insights” into the gay scene in Amsterdam.
Don’t think this happens in other cities!
For those who are interested, here you can watch the complete canalparade (with Dutch commentary):
@Frank: You mean if we abandoned this ridiculous notion that the United States was founded on religious principles and threw out all the haters?
I wish I knew months ahead of time when these parades were taking place so I could go. I just missed a great opportunity to go to this one and the tickets and hotels were so cheap when when a trip advisor e-mailed me about them, they just didn’t say that’s when the gay pride was going to be. Where do I go to find all the dates of pride parades around the world?
@Rusty: A great place to watch for upcoming Pride and other gay-popular events is http://www.gaycities.com/events/
This gives you a list of all the Pride events happening around the world.
It doesn’t mention the Mother City Queer Project which is a massive gay fancy dress party in
Cape Town, South Africa.
Rusty – the Pride in Amsterdam always happens on the 1st Saturday in August.
I’m not usually a patriotic person, but around pride I’m always very proud to be Dutch
@Daez: Nooo don’t throw out the haters! The only reason the Netherlands got to be as awesome as it is nowaydays, is because all our religious crazies emigrated to the USA
Amsterdam has the only HOMOMONUMENT in the world I know of. And it’s been this way for 40 years!!!!
The only city I’ve been to where two guys kissing in the street lighten up faces of obviously straight passers-by.
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