The Netherlands: Amsterdam Gay Pride 2016

I think we can all agree that the world in general has become much more liberal and open minded in recent times, and one could argue that no other country is more qualified to be associated with those adjectives than The Netherlands.

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I didn’t specifically plan to be in Amsterdam when this infamous event was on this year, but when good ol’ Facebook alerted me that it was on in a couple of weeks I was glad I was in the country. There are sometimes misconceptions associated with such events in that people think you need to swing one way or the other in order to participate. This isn’t the case at all, I for one am interested in people born with vaginas but am one of many who go along to support the cause. And party.

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Over here it’s not just a few hours of celebration, either. The weekend kicks off on Friday with street parties everywhere, festivals in the courtyards and the roads everywhere packed with people, all different types of people. This is one weekend where you may have issues riding your bicycle through Amsterdam.

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My friends and I headed out through the packed streets to the clubs on Friday night. One of the ones we went in to had a giant dick as the wash basin in the mens. Only in Amsterdam.

On Saturday, once the hangovers had subsided we headed outside again to check out the main event. I think there are quite a few people that don’t realise that the A’dam ‘parade’ is through the canals, not the streets, which makes it even more awesome.

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The crew joining the ranks. We followed the boats along the canals as the party went on. Every boat has its own sound system and on-board party. It’s one day where people don’t have to observe noise restrictions in the canals.

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Everybody near the canal gets involved. People are hanging out the windows, shops are selling beer, snacks and huge inflatable penises on the streets… the whole city turns into a party.

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2 Euros for a balloon. To quote the vendor, “I don’t know if it’s legal but I can tell you that nobody cares.”

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As well as there being a huge sense of freedom around the the city, especially on that day, everybody is in a great mood. You won’t see any aggressive drunks or intimidating police, but you will see smiles, guys wearing dick costumes and hot girls exploring each others tonsils.

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You’ll also see dudes in leather dancing in cages on boats. This is probably not the right place for you if you’re homophobic.

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The boats touring the canal belong to all sorts of companies and organisations, ranging from coffee companies and solicitors to the local postal service and government.

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All in all, it was a great day and I’d rate it up there as one of the best days out I’ve ever had. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who likes to party and celebrate the freedom of choice in a city that knows how to do so. I’ll be back next year for sure!

– Damo

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