Amsterdam – The Canal Parade 2009

Ingrid, one of the “regulars” on this website, filed this report after attending the Gay Pride Parade in Amsterdam. She hopes that you enjoy both the post and the pictures. Thank you Ingrid! I love both.


According to the organisers and police, 560,000 people visited the event of the Amsterdam Gay Pride week –  the Canal Parade, and I was one of them.

It is described as Queensday but more friendly and less alcohol. For the people outside Holland, Queensday is when we celebrate the Queen’s birthday and it takes place on April the 30th. For Amsterdam that means that the whole centre is converted into one big street party. The colour for Queensday is orange and for gay pride it is of course pink. Needless to say I was dressed accordingly in a bright pink shirt.

This year was the 14th time the Canal Parade took place. It is the main event in the Pride week and it’s followed by street parties throughout the city centre and closing party on Sunday. Sadly enough I did not have the time to go there.

Some say that the parade does not show the normal gay people, only the extravagant ones. The parade however is not only to show glorious naked bodies but also to create awareness amongst people. Just the week before, a gay man (one of the organisers!) was beaten up after saying goodbye (with a kiss on the cheek) to a friend after a night out. This shows that all is still not alright.

The boats showed this mixed view. Some were for fun only and other boats asked attention for the more serious side of  gay life. The people on the boats are not only gays but also famous dutchies to give their support. And of course the most famous gay dutch people were on board as well.

pic 1The afternoon started well when a boat full with twinkies docked before the place I was standing on the bridge. 
I don’t know why but I thought of Ally all the time.

The slogan of this boat is “Out Of The Closet Works Better” and it is sponsored by a labour organisation. Two groups on the boat were the marines and army. This year for the first time they were allowed to wear their uniform. pic 2




pic 3A more serious boat was the one from HIVOS asking attention for gay rights across the globe. Especially for those countries were gays are still killed for being gay.




The winner of the day ( a jury selects the prettiest/ funniest/ best party/music boat whatever) was this boat   A boat with Robinpic 4 Hoods. I see them all over the place these days and I wonder why?? I like these ones much better than the one showing in the Ugliest Cover part 2 post.:)


pic 5The dutch gay celebs and friends. The first person who can name one gets a postcard from Amsterdam *g* 



Mr. B is apparently a world famous toy and leather shop. I looked that up. One of the tv commentators said “You see t-shirts of Mr. B all over the world.” Innocent me thought that it was a club here in Amsterdam. But when I looked it up on the net I came upon this web shop. So to all writers looking for toy inspiration look it up on there. It was the only boat with leather only. pic 6 


pic 7 

Real Extravaganza



 The organisers of the Homo 100 I mentioned on the chatboard had their own boat on the parade. I love their show on the radio, it’spic 8 funny and good music.  


That was a small selection of the 80 boats that were taking part. At home, scrolling through my pictures I noticed that I had forgotten to take a picture of the boat with the Mayor of Amsterdam. He personally took the wedding vows of 5 Dutch-American couples. He wants it to be a message to the US where in most States gays are still not allowed to marry.

Also not showing are the boats from various political parties, companies, AIDS foundation and assorted clubs from across the country.

pic 9


This is how 560,000 people look on the canal in Amsterdam. Well a small part of those.  

That finishes my first Canal Parade. I was sunburned, had sore feet from standing still 5 hours but it was absolutely worth it. It was great fun to see all the people having fun on the boats and on the street. Next year I will go again.

I made a short video clip to show some more and to let you hear what the parade sounds like:


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • Thanks for sharing, Ingrid. This looks like a fabulous event. I’ve been to a couple of Pride parades in Perth including a very memorable one where my cousin represented his high school. We were unbelievably proud of him and his efforts to promote the message of acceptance.

    On a less serious note, those Robin Hoods are seriously cute. 🙂


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