One of Europe's gay-friendliest capitals, Amsterdam is host to a legendary pride celebration with unique parade floats that, in their utility, top almost any others across the globe: They actually float (!), because Amsterdam's Pride Parade takes place in its majestic canals.
Gay pride weekend is officially July 30 to August 2, with the official opening ceremony on Thursday at the city's famous Homomonument , one of the few permanent civil homages to queerdom. Located in Westemarkt, the 6 p.m. ceremony extends to midnight and will be officiated Frank van Dalen , the sexy former president of COC Nederland and an active member of VVD , a liberal dutch political party. Also unique to Amsterdam is the GreyPride party at Paleis van de Weemoed . This monthly fête celebrating LGBT's who are 40 and older will also take place on Thursday starting at 6 p.m.
However Friday is the "first real party night" of pride, with street parties along some of the many intricately named Amsterdam thoroughfares: the young and trendy gays will collect along Reguliersdwarsstraat and Amstel Westmarkt (near the monument), while women tend to gather along Paardenstraat . Other gay street parties will be going on at Thorbeckeplein and Amstelveld , popular streets for the general population of the city (the last two will be the most mixed of the parties).
The Canal Parade on Saturday, August 1 requires no trucks, but 75 "spectacularly decorated boats with beautiful boys and girls." With over 350,000 spectators from the bridges, banks, and boats on the river, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the party boats will drift by on the Prinsengracht and Amstel River .
Ever the party town, the highlight nighttime event will be Fresh at Club Marcanti —featuring beats by world-famous Israeli DJ Offer Nissim . Powerzone will feature the Amsterdam White Party while Bear Neccessity (muscle bears and lovers) will head to Club Odeon —while all of the Perverts will head over to Church (no, really; the leatherboy party "Perverts" takes place in Club Church ).
For those in need of nearby lodging, the four-star Eden Rambrant Square is very close to the gayborhood and the favored property by NightTours, an Amsterdam gay nightlife guide (and Pride organizer). Also recommended is the gay-owned Jolly Carlton . Located on Reguliersdwarsstraat , you can't get much closer to the party than this location.
With nothing but dancing and celebrating planned for 48 hours, the Sunday recovery party is a late afternoon celebration at the Stopera, with more artists and DJs and a very mixed and Amsterdam-ish crowd. For those with the strength still in them, the circuit party Rapido will start at Paradiso from around 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., for those who can't get enough "booze, boys and beats."