A Guide to Amsterdam Pride

A Guide to Amsterdam Pride

In 1987, Amsterdam’s city government made history as the first in the world to unveil an official monument dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. Made of granite, and featuring a trio of pink triangles, the Homomonument acknowledges the queer lives lost to persecution. Fifteen years later, the Netherlands became the first nation to recognize same-sex marriages - in short, few destinations boast a legislative and political landscape that is as gay-friendly as Amsterdam’s.

It’s not just the progressive legal situation that makes Amsterdam such a fantastic choice for gay travelers, with the city long recognized as an epicenter of queer subcultures and home to some of Europe’s oldest gay bars and clubs. Whereas most European cities tend to feature one, or perhaps two, gay districts, visitors to Amsterdam can explore a whopping five; from Zeedijk to Reguliersdwardsstraat (a mouthful, we know!), there’s a gaybourhood to suit any traveler's tastes in the Netherland’s subversive capital.

Whilst a history of radical self-expression and LGBTQ+ activism certainly elevate the city’s eclectic character, Amsterdam’s unique old-word charm can also be attributed to the collection of bookshops, coffee shops, and cafes that line its cobblestone streets. Don’t miss out on a visit to Cafe ‘t Mandje - considered by many to be the world’s oldest gay bar!

Amsterdam Pride is held in August each year, featuring a dazzling array of workshops, parades, parties, and performances. With events ranging from the iconic Pride Canal Parade to Bear Necessity, a dance party for hairy guys and their admirers, regardless of what your dream Pride looks like, you can make it a reality in always-edgy Amsterdam.


Amsterdam Pride Parade


Watching a Pride parade can often consist of hours spent standing in the summer heat without ever catching a glimpse of a passing float; but Amsterdam’s offering could not be more different. The Canal Parade, a visual spectacle that sees hundreds of gloriously decorated barges and boats move down the Amstel River in a celebration of the city’s queer community, is one of Europe’s most unique and consistently-popular Pride events.

Forget peering through shoulders and clambering on milk crates; part of the beauty of the Amsterdam Canal Parade is the network of bridges and sidewalks which provide ample viewpoints from which to watch the parade float by. For the best photo opportunities, head to the bridges of the Prinsengracht and Magere Brug, but be warned, these spots get busier and busier as the day draws on.

In 2023, participating boats will start their journey at the Scheepvarrt Museum before moving centrally toward the Amstel River. The Canal Parade starts at around 12 pm on Saturday 5th August and will spend the entire afternoon winding its way through Amsterdam’s waterways. Whilst the parade itself will conclude late on Saturday afternoon, the sense of Pride needn't come to an end, with a host of street and club parties taking place across the city. From large, family-friendly events, to all-night raves, there’s something for every Amsterdam Pride attendee to enjoy.


Amsterdam Pride Events


With a city center packed with gay bars and clubs, it should come as no surprise that Amsterdam Pride 2023 will offer a schedule of over 300 events to experience. There’s no one way to do Pride, and in Amsterdam, visitors will find a diverse array of activities ranging from street parties and the Senior Pride concert to queer-centric art exhibitions and poetry evenings. A full list of the events taking place during Amsterdam Pride can be found here.

Owing to the city’s history of radical, self-organized LGBTQ+ events, one of the highlights of Amsterdam Pride 2023 will undoubtedly be the various Street Parties that will be taking place on the 4th and 5th of August. Spread across the city and occurring between 3 pm and 2 am on both days, these Street Parties are officially recognized by Amsterdam Pride and reflect the diverse collection of queer communities that make up the city’s LGBTQ+ population.

Bringing together LGBTQ+ artists from across the globe, and representing both established and emerging figures, the Pride at GO Gallery exhibition promises to be a mind-expanding exploration of the creative potential found within the LGBTQ+ community. Featuring artists such as Romain Berger, Chris Marmier, Mat Cahill and Onno Visser, Pride at Go Gallery will tackle the concepts of Pop Art, AI, and materiality through a decidedly queer lens. Pride at Go Gallery will run from the 22nd of July to the 6th of August.

After 6 days of all-out LGBTQ+ revelry, a suitably fabulous closing event is in-store for travelers visiting Amsterdam Pride 2023. The event’s official Closing Party, which will kick off at 2pm on Sunday the 6th of August, is slated to feature a variety of Dutch and international LGBTQ+ icons and allies in an evening of unforgettable performances. The location of this final celebration will be Dam Square - the focal point of Amsterdam Pride 2023.

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