Dutch Language Blog

Showing Pride and Solidariteit at the Amsterdam Canal Parade Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Culture, News

This weekend was the climax of the famous Amsterdam Gay Pride, the festival in celebration of LGBT culture and equality in one of the most tolerant and gay-friendly countries in the world. As Karoly pointed out last month in her post ‘Love Wins!‘, the Netherlands has long been a forerunner in the LGBT rights movement, so it’s no surprise that Pride is one of the most fabulous events on Amsterdam’s annual events calendar.

Indeed, the Netherlands is a country where tolerantie is famously high, especially in the case of LHBT (lesbiënne, homoseksueel, biseksueel, en transseksueel/ transgender) people. As Karoly’s post mentioned, homohuwelijk has been legal in the Netherlands since 2001, when it became the first country in the history of the world in which all happy couples could trouwen when they chose.

Photo by Partij van de Arbeid

DJ at the Amsterdam Canal Parade wearing an “eerlijk delen” (share fair), photo by Partij van de Ardbeid

This year — also the bicentennial of the Koninkrijk der Nederlanden or ‘Kingdom of the Netherlands’ — stands out for the unique floats that made their debut in the Amsterdam Canal Parade on Saturday. In a year that’s witnessed a dramatic refugee crisis in Europe, many of these boats focused on further marginalised groups within the LGBT population, such as vluchtelingen (‘refugees’) and zwervers (‘drifters’ or homeless people).

Many of these populations face discrimination and challenges above and beyond those faced by other queer people. Zelfmoord, or suicide, for example, is extremely high among homeless LGBT youth, and many vluchtelingen from other regions have faced discriminatory violence or worse in their home countries.

Organisers of the event said it was important that “iedereen z’n verhaal mag vertellen“, that voices from these marginalised and sometimes invisible populations be heard. Here’s a clip in which citizens of other parts of the Koninkrijk, in which LGBT rights aren’t as present as they are in the Netherlands, share their own verhalen:

This year, like the last 20, the Amsterdam Canal Parade and countless other Pride events — like plenty of street parties and the legendary Drag Queen Olympics – took place along the Prinsengracht, one of the most famous canals of Amsterdam, home to the Homomonument and other cultural treasures of the Netherlands.

This year’s theme was ‘share’, with the motto “Share love, love difference”. This fits right in with the organisation’s stated boodschap or message as stated on Amsterdam Pride’s website:

Om aandacht te blijven vragen voor de mensenrechten in het algemeen en de tolerantie, acceptatie en gelijkheid van LHBT’s in het bijzonder, waar ook ter wereld, wordt het festival jaarlijks gehouden. Met als belangrijke boodschap: “Iedereen heeft het recht om zichzelf te zijn en te houden van wie hij/zij wilt [sic].” Het festival heeft als doel diversiteit zichtbaar te maken, mensen trots te laten zijn op wie ze zijn en solidair te zijn met doelgroepen en landen waar dit (nog) niet voor geldt.

“To continue calling attention to human rights in general and the tolerance, acceptance, and equality of LGBT people in particular all around the world, the festival is held annually, with as important message: ‘everyone has the right to be him or herself and to love who he or she wants.’ The festival has as its goal making diversity visible, making people feel proud of who they are, and standing in solidarity with these audiences in countries where this is not (yet) the case.”

The Canal Parade 2015, Photo by Franklin Heijnen.

The Amsterdam Canal Parade 2015, photo by Franklin Heijnen

Did you attend the Amsterdam Canal Parade or any of the other Amsterdam Pride events this year? How about another time or in a different city in the world? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Related Vocabulary:
de tolerantie — tolerance
de solidariteit — solidarity
LHBT — LGBT (stands for lesbiënne, homoseksueel, biseksueel, en trans)
het verhaal — story
de vluchteling — refugee
de zwerver — homeless person
mensenrecht(en) — human right(s)
het huwelijk — marriage
trouwen — to marry
zelfmoord plegen — to commit suicide
delen — to share

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About the Author: Jakob Gibbons

I write about language and travel on my blog . I often share my experiences with learning languages on the road, and teaching and learning new speech sounds is my specialty.