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Always Something To Do

by Rick van der Made in Columns & Opinions , 31 juli 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

I am running a cosy hotel with my best female friend Pascale in the centre of the “country’s most beautiful city,” as singer Wim Sonneveld once described Amsterdam. It has its advantages. Although our hotel is not “Fawlty Towers,” every day something new happens.

There is always something to do and there are always people around who are generally friendly and cheerful. If you are so inclined, you never have to travel anywhere, as the entire world is coming to you. This not only holds true for the guests, but also for our staff.

In twelve years’ time, Pascale and I have managed some seventy employees from all around the world. The United States, Colombia, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Germany, Israel, Sweden, Namibia, Lebanon, and Jordan.

When we took over the hotel, it was almost one hundred percent “gay-friendly,” but that target group diminished over the years. The ever-increasing influx of “straight” tourists increasingly books rooms in the hotel. Amsterdam was slowly losing its title “Gay Capital of Europe,” while the large hotel chains, such as Marriott, Hilton and NH, also started to use the hip buzzword “gay-friendly” in advertising. Although there is not a rainbow flag in sight at those hotels, the goal has apparently been achieved: almost all of Amsterdam now calls itself gay-friendly, which is a good thing.

As hotel owners, we have seen a lot of colourful people coming to visit us over the years. Two of them entered the hotel twelve years ago this month. Throughout the years, the American couple Doug and Kurt kept coming back, and now we are close friends.

Of course, we have our little incidents at the hotel. Ten years ago, during the Pride week, a young Israeli lady made such a mess of her room that I was forced to accompany my originally Lebanese employee Mo to ask her to leave. She did so without a fuss. She packed her suitcase as chaotically as she unpacked it and left.

I asked Mo why he had closed the window while I was talking to the Israeli guest. “Well,” he said, “I thought she was acting strange, and I was afraid she would cause trouble. You do not want ‘Gay hotel owner, Jewish guest and Shiite Lebanese member of staff fall out of hotel window,’ in the papers tomorrow.”

There is always something happening here.

At the end of july Pascale, my partner Armen and I pick up our American friends from Schiphol Airport. They are coming to the Netherlands to celebrate Gay Pride, just as they have done over the past twelve years.

“Amsterdam always feels like coming home,” Doug said last year as we welcomed him with a hug at Schiphol. “I know what you mean,” replied my originally Syrian-Armenian friend.

With the hotel, with all the people from Amsterdam, and - as far as I’m concerned - with the whole country, this edition of Gay Pride will certainly be another great one.

Let it all happen. Let there always be something “gay-friendly” to do.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 336, August/ Pride 2019

Beursplein, August 2 & 3

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