PHOTOS: Is Amsterdam’s Canal Parade The Most Festive Pride On The Planet?

Photo Aug 02, 1 29 03 PM

Think you know Pride? Until you’ve done it in Amsterdam, you ain’t seen—or felt—squat.

Photo Aug 02, 1 50 50 PMAmsterdam Pride is unique among global Pride events in that its floats actually float. Like on water. Each year on the first Saturday of August, precisely 80 elaborately-decorated barges wend through the city’s gorgeous canals to the delight of the huge crowds (this year some 350,000) lining the banks—gay and straight alike, of all ages, colors, and states of dress (and/or undress). For many it’s admittedly a license to booze up and cut loose (Pride is matched only in Amsterdam by Queen’s/King’s Day in this regard), but it’s much more than that at the same time.

Photo Aug 02, 2 06 49 PMAmsterdam’s Canal Parade includes contingents (like last year’s Russian boat) from politically sensitive hotspots and under-represented communities. This year that meant a craft for Dutch Moroccans (wearing pink djellabas) and a Jewish boat, the only float requiring police protection given the recent Israeli/Palestinian flare-up and a rise in anti-Jewish violence across Europe. The entire Canal Parade was led by two boats carrying white-clad AIDS activists, commemorating the six top Dutch AIDS researchers who were among the 298 people killed in the Malaysian Airlines disaster in Ukraine on July 17.

Photo Aug 02, 2 30 41 PM

On a far lighter note, Eurovision Song Contest fans had much to be especially giddy about at this year’s Amsterdam Pride, with no fewer than four former contest winners appearing both on the water and off. Israel’s Dana International, ESC winner in 1998, was the star of the Jewish boat, while this year’s champ, Austria’s Conchita Wurst, headlined the Gay Care Amsterdam boat. Wurst also made a stellar appearance at Cocktail, a swanky VIP event at Amsterdam’s sublime Sofitel Legend The Grand Hotel, on Friday evening. Wurst and International both also performed on Sunday evening at the Pride closing concert on the city’s Rembrandtplein, as did fellow former ESC winners Emelie de Forest of Denmark and Johnny Logan of Ireland.

Photo Aug 01, 8 30 20 PM

Other highlights from the action-packed weekend included Friday evening’s always wonderful and fiercely competitive Drag Olympics at the city’s Homomonument, the world’s first-ever memorial to those facing persecution for their sexual orientation.

Photo Aug 02, 1 08 29 PM

2014 also marked the first year that an American boat took part in Amsterdam’s Canal Parade. Freedom to Marry, the Evan Wolfson-founded marriage equality org, sponsored a 120-person boat sporting a golden Justice and a green Lady Liberty—the latter portrayed by Dutch-born but now New York-residing celeb chef Linda Steen.

Photo Aug 02, 1 45 14 PM (1)
Photo Aug 02, 2 13 56 PM Photo Aug 02, 1 39 33 PM Photo Aug 02, 1 42 37 PM Photo Aug 02, 1 43 47 PM Photo Aug 02, 1 44 09 PM Photo Aug 02, 1 59 47 PM (1) Photo Aug 02, 2 02 46 PM Photo Aug 02, 2 04 07 PM Photo Aug 02, 2 04 16 PM Photo Aug 02, 2 04 31 PM Photo Aug 02, 2 05 31 PM Photo Aug 02, 2 11 21 PM CocktailPhoto Aug 02, 3 55 40 PM (1) Photo Aug 02, 3 57 51 PM (1) Photo Aug 02, 3 59 54 PM (1) Photos by Dan Allen except final 4 (1 by Michel Ronald Swart, 2-4 by Edwin van Eis)

Get GayCities Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to GayCities for the latest travel & events


  • Michel Banen

    I was there last week… it’s not just “Gay pride”, all of Amsterdam was having one big party !

  • Arjan Eikelenboom

    It was – again – an amazing week and weekend of parties, events, exopsitions and of course, the unique floating parade. Great piece and pics, Dan. Thanks! Next big event; Evolve in Las Vegas. Check my FB for $50,- diiscount. See ya.

  • cours de theatre

    I really liked your article post. Keep writing.

  • Carlos Eduardo Veiga

    What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious know-how regarding unpredicted emotions.

  • heart disease multiply

    Hello There. I discovered your weblog the use
    of msn. That is an extremely well written article.

    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful information. Thanks for the post.

    I will definitely return.

  • Casimira

    Asking questions are actually pleasant thing
    if you are not understanding something fully,
    except this post offers good understanding yet.

  • Mattie

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!

  • Lenore

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book
    in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive
    the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.
    A great read. I will definitely be back.

  • dic phoenix

    Major thankies for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  • contract phones reduces

    Wow, this article is nice, my younger sister is
    analyzing these things, therefore I am going
    to tell her.

  • travel close

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really
    useful & it helped me out much. I hope to provide something back and help others
    such as you aided me.

  • phones allow

    Hello, I enjoy reading through your article. I wanted to write a
    little comment to support you.

  • heart muscle

    We stumbled over here by a different page and thought I might check
    things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page for a second time.

  • Melanie

    WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for bigger butt

  • having holiday travel

    whoah this blog is magnificent i like reading your articles.
    Stay up the great work! You recognize, many individuals
    are looking round for this info, you could aid them greatly.

  • buy hacklinks

    Very informative blog.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  • can ho bien vung tau

    Wow, great blog article.Much thanks again. Will read on…

  • solarmovie

    Wow, great blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  • travel tips

    Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog
    and will often come back someday. I want to
    encourage continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

  • right timex

    great issues altogether, you just received a new reader.
    What may you suggest about your post that you simply made a few
    days ago? Any sure?

  • travel cruise starting

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year
    old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is
    entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  • travel news

    A person necessarily lend a hand to make significantly articles I’d state.
    This is the first time I frequented your web page
    and up to now? I amazed with the analysis you made
    to make this actual put up extraordinary. Great process!

  • Lelio Junior

    I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your blog.
    It appears like some of the text within your posts are running off
    the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let
    me know if this is happening to them as well?

    This could be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve
    had this happen previously. Many thanks

  • domain availability

    We absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.

    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind writing a post
    or elaborating on some of the subjects you write related to here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

  • omega xl review

    I loved your blog post.Really thank you!

  • find asbestos inside

    If some one wants to be updated with newest technologies therefore he must be pay a visit this web page and be
    up to date daily.

  • phones allow

    Unquestionably consider that that you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be at the internet
    the simplest thing to keep in mind of. I say to you, I
    certainly get irked while other folks think about worries that they plainly don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the
    entire thing without having side-effects , folks could take a
    signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

  • reverse phone directory

    What’s up to every body, it’s my first visit of this blog; this blog carries
    remarkable and genuinely fine data designed for visitors.

  • sletrokor review

    Thanks for the article.Really thank you! Fantastic.

  • lelio vieira carneiro junior

    Simply wish to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is simply cool and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.|

Add your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Share your take, things we missed and your favorites.