After three years of preparations, the countdown has finally begun. What only existed on paper, now comes to life in a beautiful and tangible whole. Not only have we been working on this for years, we have functioned as the hub and the oil that kept the motor running. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of people have been working for a long time, and it is wonderful to see that all these initiatives are now unfolding themselves.
EuroPride is not just any festival - It’s an international movement. It is Amsterdam Gay Pride’s great honor to turn all these separate events, congresses, sports events, debates, religious services, art and cultural activities, and all the parties into one large festival.
The promotion campaign is now in full swing. JOIN magazine is distributed in gay bars in the Netherlands and all European capitals. Especially for EuroPride, we replaced our festival paper by a glossy magazine in English. We are proud of the result, and our very own Lisa Luijten, who joined the team to realize this. I started the Gay Pride preparatory organization with her in 2012. She was my touchstone until 2014.
Have you already been in one of the fifty EuroPride buses that are running in the Amsterdam region? A EuroPride tram will be added to that as of July 15, and even Central Station will get a complete make-over. Around that time, our posters will also determine the street scene in the Netherlands. Everyone will know that Amsterdam for a period of time is Europe’s Gay Capital again, proud of what a small country can excel in.
For info during the festival, we now have developed an app where are all activities are included and visitors can determine through a ranking application which of the contestants of the canal parade should win the public award.
Throughout the city, we will erect twenty-eight information towers with information on the human rights situation of GLBTIs in Europa. We collaborated with ILGA Europe for this. We also put a hang-out container near the greens of Rembrandtplein where people can get flyers and the JOIN magazine, and buy merchandise and cocktail ice cream. For information on the culture and arts programme, visitors can go to the Shakespeare Club, the cultural hub and hang-out in the Amsterdam Museum, organized by COC Netherlands.
It is going to be busy, but that of course is the plan. However, we are not worried about a tsunami of visitors. But for those who are worried about this, it is good to know that we have been working with the urban project group EuroPride, uniting all governmental services that have been preparing for this with scenarios and taking precautionary measures.
We are convinced, as are all other parties concerned, that EuroPride will be a great success, as were the 1998 Gay Games, conquering a warm place in our collective memory.
This year, we are hosting EuroPride in Amsterdam. A special European version of the Amsterdam Gay Pride that will span two weeks and starts on July 23 with Pink Saturday. Visit www.pride.amsterdam for more information or Like us on Facebook prideamsterdam.
Lucien Spee is managing director of the Foundation Amterdam Pride