Amsterdam Gay Pride

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One of the decorated boats participating in the 2013 Canal Parade of the Amsterdam Gay Pride
Hans Klok and Gerard Joling on a parade boat

Amsterdam Pride or Amsterdam Gay Pride is a citywide gay-festival held annually at the center of Amsterdam during the first weekend of August. The festival attracts several hundred-thousand visitors each year and is one of the largest publicly held annual events in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam Pride was first organized in 1996, meant as a festival to celebrate freedom and diversity. It was therefore not like many other Gay Prides, which began as demonstrations for equal rights. The latter purpose served another event, which is called Pink Saturday (Dutch: Roze Zaterdag) since 1979 and is held in a different city each year since 1981.

The peak of the festival is during the Canal Parade, a parade of boats of large variety on the first Saturday of August, which usually goes from Westerdok over the Prinsengracht, Amstel river, Zwanenburgwal and Oudeschans to Oosterdok. In 2014, the first Jewish boat and the first Moroccan boat participated in the Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade. [1] [2] [3]Dana International was on the Jewish boat, as well as the Fokkens twins (Louise Fokkens and Martine Fokkens), who are famous in the Netherlands for having worked 50 years as sex workers in Amsterdam’s Red Light District before their retirement earlier in 2014. [4] Marianne van Praag, a Reform rabbi from The Hague, was the only rabbi aboard the Jewish boat. [5] [6]

The Amsterdam Gay Pride usually spans a week of various activities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including exhibitions, cultural and sport events. There are also street parties in the streets where there's a concentration of gay bars, like Reguliersdwarsstraat, Zeedijk, Warmoesstraat and alongside Amstel. On Rembrandtplein there's a closing party on the Sunday after the Canal Parade.[7]

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