This week big changes were announced for the 2017 edition of the Amsterdam Pride and its hallmark event: the Canal Parade. Some open air parties will be at a different location. The most eye-catching proposal, however, is the reversal of the route of the famous Canal Parade. Instead of going from West to East, the city proposal is to reverse the route along the same waterways.
Pride open air parties at three locations
The open air street parties will be held at three different locations during the 2017 Pride. The new centre of all street festivities will be the famous Dam square in the centre of the city. Last year it was used for the first time as a location for Amsterdam Pride concerts. That proved to be very successful, so also this year you can party right in front of the Royal Palace. Dam square will also be the starting point of the Pride Walk towards the Vondel park.
The two other locations are old Pride favorites. One is at the Homomonument on the Westermarkt. The other is on the Amstelveld square. The former is a well known and established location for open air LGBTQ parties. The latter party location has over the years lost its overwhelming LGBTQ atmosphere during Amsterdam Pride. So we are curious how that will work out this year.
This year their won’t be street parties on Rembrandt square and along the Amstel river. These were popular locations for decades, since the start of the Amsterdam Pride. So many people in the local LGBTQ community are quite sad to see those places gone.
Update: in the Paardenstraat (Vive-la-Vie) and in the Reguliersdwarstraat (Taboo, Soho) there will be small scale street parties.
Reversal of Canal Parade route
Since the start of the Canal Parade it has always made its triumphant way from the west side of the old city along the Prinsengracht canal. The big finale was when the boats turned on the Amstel river and sailed in front the city hall towards the east side of the old city.
This year the route will be the exact opposite. The organization hopes that the flotilla of boats will be able to stay more together. After the last boat will have entered the Prinsengracht canal to head west, they will close down the canal. This way they hope to put a stop to the anarchistic free-for-all atmosphere on this canal at the end of the parade.
Reasons behind the changes
Amsterdam is a popular city, with an increasing number of visitors and parties. That puts a lot of pressure on the people living in the old city centre. So the city council is looking for ways to alleviate the pressure of all this activity on the lives of ordinary Amsterdammers. One way is to adjust the organization of the Amsterdam Pride.
According to Danny de Vries of the organization behind the Amsterdam Pride, these plans have been brought forward to involve the people living in the city centre. With less open street parties and a different route for the Canal Parade, the organization hopes to make life easier for the local people during the Amsterdam Pride.
These new proposals are on top of extra cleanup actions at last year’s Pride. The organization did put extra garbage bins and mobile toilets on the streets. That helped a lot, but they are looking to do more. We will see if these changes help and if they do not change the character of the Amsterdam Pride too much.