It’s not that we were thinking that there was someone gay in the management of SAIL 2015. But who else could have come up with the absolute dream idea of asking all tall ship crews to march in a parade through the heart of Amsterdam, to say ‘Thank you’ for the city’s hospitality during SAIL?
As we speak, the city of Amsterdam is abuzz with the hundreds of thousands of visitors that flock to the world’s largets nautical event, SAIL 2015 – the core of which is a number of magnificent ‘tall ships’ that are moored in the IJ-haven (IJ Harbour) in Amsterdam East. Yesterday all participating ships arrived in the ‘Sail In Parade’, from IJmuiden to Amsterdam, which attracted almost 400,000 spectators along the route.
Above: 2010 Crew Parade, in front of then gay bar De Engel
Now that all ships have arrived, and lie in the Amsterdam waters to be admired by the crowds, it is time for side events, that let us discover the ships are not the only thing to be admired.
For tomorrow (Friday August 21) brings us the Crew Parade :
Just like in 2010, the sailors of all tall ships (around a thousand of them) will put on their prettiest uniforms, and walk through Amsterdam, to show gratitude to the city for being a good host.Back in 2010, the Crew Parade went along Zeedijk, a narrow street near Central Station with a little cluster of 3 gay bars at the beginning. With all those sailors from all over the world marching along, it was obvious that a lot of gratitude went the other way too: loads of gay men were applauding and cheering on the sailors in the parade, who undoubtedly felt very welcome in Amsterdam. Then, at the end of the parade on Nieuwmarkt square, the atmosphere remained restless for quite some time – we may add that a lot of international contacts were made.
Tomorrow’s Crew Parade follows a slightly different route. It starts at the corner of Piet Heinkade and Kattenburgerstraat, then on to Central Station, Prins Hendrikkade, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, to end at Dam Square.
We don’t know why the management changed the route of the Parade. Was it caused by the fact that the narrow Zeedijk, with its gay bars, perhaps gave rise to too many ‘encounters of the wrong kind’?
We can only guess.
Above: Indonesian march band @ Nieuwmarkt square
What we do know is this. If the rearrangement of the route was to avoid gay spectators, the organization has done less than a splendid job. For the Parade now leads along Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, right along the new gay sauna Sauna Nieuwezijds, and the cruisy bars The Web and The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Or perhaps our suspected gay friend in the management has done this on purpose. Who can tell? The only thing we can do is enjoy the Parade of a Thousand Sailors.
When: Friday August 21
Start: 3pm at corner of Piet Heinkade and Kattenburgerstraat
End: 4.15 pm at Dam Square
Where: See here for a map of the route.
Some more details: the parade will be accompanied by various music bands, such as the Dutch Marine Steelband, the Blue Marble Silver Cornet Band, the Customs’ Samba Group a.o. On Dam Square there will be an official welcome by the Mayor of Amsterdam, mr Eberhard van der Laan.