Gay Pride Canal Parade 2009

Yesterday was the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade.  It’s the third time I’ve watched the parade in the 6 years I’ve been here.  It was also the most crowded ever – over half a million people watched the parade all along the Prinsengracht and Amstel River.

Unfortunately this year we were too late to get a good spot for viewing and photos.  We showed up at our favorite place to watch the parade (the corner of Prinsengracht and Utrechtsestraat) just before 2pm and already all the tables were taken at the canal-side cafe.  We ended up sitting and standing in the doorway stoop of someone’s house (who luckily weren’t home).  I took a lot of photos but they didn’t turn out very well and aren’t really worth posting.  Ah well.

The weather was perfect – very warm and mostly sunny.  I think that’s also why so many people came out to watch.  Here’s what the scene looked like at 2pm:

Here’s what it looked like at 4pm, same street and view.

And a good example of anti-social self centered people who don’t mind wrecking other people’s property.

But what was the parade like?

Well, both DB and I start to feel like it becomes less a celebration of Gay Pride and more of a chance for certain groups to be seen and to take advantage of the situation.  For example there were 3 political parties with boats in the parade.  There were boats sponsored by social organizations.  There was Google with their huge boring stupid boat parked on the other side of the gracht.  There were so many sponsored boats that it didn’t feel genuine anymore.

There were several celebs on boats this year.  Pieter van den Hoogenband, Olympic swimmer (who is not gay btw), Patty Brard, singer, actress (also not gay), Ahmed Marcoush, city council member from Stadsdeel Slotervaart (of course not gay).  See a trend here?

Yes, it’s still good fun to come out and watch the parade, but I miss the over-the-top boats from a few years ago.  I miss the feeling that people are on boats to celebrate who they are.  It just felt somehow professionalized and not “for the people” anymore.  Wat jammer.

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