Amsterdam Pride 2018 – a week full of dilemma’s

Amsterdam Pride 2018 is a massive event spanning more than a week filled with parties, debates, sports, exhibitions, performances and much more. On the site of Amsterdam Pride you will find a full list of events. With all those events we will offer you some dilemma’s and give you our advise.

Pride Walk or Canal Parade?

The Canal Parade is an iconic part of the Amsterdam Pride. This year it will be on the 4th of August. The float of about 80 boats attracts several hundreds of thousands of spectators every year. The Canal Parade started small scale, flamboyant and provocative. But over the years it has become more commercial, regulated and bourgeois. Non LGBTQI+ organizations dominated the list of participants and along the canals VIP decks are being set up to watch the parade. Every year it seems less and less LGBTQI+ are actually participating in the Canal Parade.

Lesser well-known is the Pride Walk on the 28th of July  this walk starts at the Homomonument at 11 AM with a few speeches. It winds it’s way down the city towards the Vondepark where it ends between 1.30PM and 2PM at the Vondelpark open air theatre. Then it kicks off a day long events in the park where many LGBTQI+ organizations present themselves.

The Pride Walk is less formalized and therefore gives individual participants more room to express their personal opinion. It has more the character of a demonstration: more the LGBTQI+ community letting the wider world know what is important for the members of the community.

Our verdict: the Pride Walk is our favourite of these two events.

Big Square parties or the smaller street parties?

From the 28th of July till the 5th of August there are many, many street parties throughout Amsterdam city centre. The big official parties are at the Dam Square (3rd, 4th and 5th of August) with lots well known artist. This year the line-up consists of amongst others Eleni Foureira (nr 2 Eurovision Song Contest 2018), Mel C (Sporty Spice of the Spice Girls) and of course a great line-up of DJ’s. It’s a series of great come-toghether of all parts of the LGBTQI+ community for one big party in front of the Royal Palace.

Street parties for every group

Maybe you want to enjoy a party with friends from your favorite bar of your preferred part of the LGBTQI+ community. Than you’v got a lot of parties to choose from. Women street parties are at the old Vivelavie location (3rd and 4th August) or at Saarein (4th August). For the gay fetish scene you can go on 3rd and 4th of August to the Beursplein. A senior LGBTQI+ people a party is organized on the 2nd of August at the Nieuwmarkt. Bar parties are: for drag queens at Lellebel (3rd and 4th of August), at the Zeedijk area (3rd and 4th of August), at the Reguliersdwarsstraat (3rd and 4th of August), at bar Prik (also 3rd and 4th of August), the Rembrandt Square (bars around the Amstel river, 3rd and 4th of August) or if you like the Carribbean vibe go to the Reality street party (3rd and 4th of August).

Our personal favorites are the parties at the Homomonument on the 3rd and 4th of August. One of the main attractions at these parties are the Dragolympics on the 3rd of August, where a lot of drag queens try to win the handbag throwing contest or the stiletto race. These parties at the Homomonument are also one of the oldest open air LGBTQI+ parties in Amsterdam. With the drinks you buy at the Homomonument parties, you support the foundation behind them who also organize memorials at the monument.

Our verdict: just edging out all the other street parties the Homonument parties are our favorite. But since they are all free (apart from buying your drinks), spend these days touring around all the parties. They are all within easy walking distance.

Exhibitions, plays or films?

This year the Amsterdam Pride is a culturally very rich event thanks also to the preceding World AIDS Conference. Several exhibitions are still on show after the Aids Conference, such as: a history of Aids in Amsterdam, a photo reportage of hiv activist around the world, Atlas 2018 an event with debates, film and  performances, or the play Poz Paradise and the Sexworker’s Opera. A longer running exhibition in the Dutch resistance museum focuses on Gay and Lesbian resistance fighters during the Second World War.

But more is shown during the Amsterdam Pride. Several films are shown such as the classic Sunset Boulevard at the Eye Film Museum or the surreal short movie Waiting for Pino at the Vondelpark. A premiere during the Pride is the showing of the movie ‘Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate’ centre around the famous drag queen. A traditional Amsterdam Pride theater event is the Cabaret La Gaîté on July 28th. In the beautiful 1920’s cinema this show recreates the atmosphere of Berlin in the 1920’s.

Our favourite of all these great events is however the Shakespeare Club. This event is organized by the Dutch LGBTQI+ rights organization COC in the Amsterdam Museum. Between 28th of July and the 5th of August from 2PM till 10PM you can go for free to the inner courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum. There you can listen to music, (historical) readings, interviews or just meet other people and have a chat.   Aim of this event to let as many different voices of the LGBTQI+ community being heard as possible. See for the full program this Dutch website.

Our verdict: it is a tough choice between all these great events. If we would have the time we would visit them all. But The Shakespeare Club is of all of them the most charming and often surprising of these events.

Centre of the City or outside of your comfort zone?

This year might be the time to visit the Amsterdam at the Beach. A heatwave is expected. So partying with other LGBTQI+ people at  the sea resort of Zandvoort (or Amsterdam Beach) is a good choice. Zandvoort is easily reached with a short, direct train drive from Amsterdam Central Station. The train stops in Zandvoort almost at the beach.

During three days (July 30st till August 1st) several parties are organized within reach of the cool sea. Think about exhibitions, street parties and best of all beach parties. For a full program see this information sheet.

Also in several neighborhoods within Amsterdam you have a chance to visit several Pride activities. Often these activities are more small scale. But that makes them also often very charming and gives you the chance to meet locals. Of course all the big parties are organized within the City Centre, mainly the street parties. Since your hotel or B&B might be outside the centre it can be nice to just hop around to an event in your temporarily own neighborhood.

Our verdict: this is a special year with a heat wave. So bring your sun screen and beach towel and enjoy the Amsterdam Pride this year at the beach. You can still enjoy the big street parties when you return from the beach and have a great tan.

For a full list of all events during the Pride, see the official website.

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