Amsterdam Pride is ‘too commercial’ and needs an overhaul, report says

Pride in Amsterdam. Photo:

Amsterdam’s Pride celebrations need an overhaul to make the event less commercial and more focused on emancipation and protest, according to a new report.

Almost everyone interviewed for the report says change is needed, but ideas about what should be done differently vary widely, according to advice bureau Flowz, which carried out the research.

A large proportion, but not a majority, think the boat parade on the last Saturday of the event should be scrapped because it no longer contributes to the emancipation of LGBTQ+ community, the researchers said.

Others say more should be done to combat ‘pink washing’ – company-related promotion using LGBTQ+ friendly images – when companies themselves are not doing enough to promote LGBTQ+ rights.

In addition, there are concerns in some quarters that the presence of so many people from outside the community and the high consumption of alcohol ‘creates places in the city which are not safe for the LGBTQ+ community,’ the report’s authors say.


However, not everyone is in favour of a complete overhaul of the event, which takes place at the end of July and early August every year.

Siep de Haan, one of the founders of the Amsterdam Pride movement, told the Parool commercial companies have always been part of the event and are nothing to do with pink washing. ‘It is insulting to our sponsors to describe them as such,’ he told the paper.

He also criticized the research, saying that the group of people who were interviewed did not include the biggest groups within the community. ‘I don’t want to keep anyone out but I myself was,’ he said. ‘Everyone has a place, but we should not be denying each other access to the event.’

Too white

However, Naomie Pieter, of the Black Pride organisation and who was part of the research focus group, told the paper that the way the event is now organised is ‘too white and too commercial’.

‘It is far removed from celebrating Pride. It has become a sort of Kings Day,’ she said. In particular, she said, there should be more focus on the Pride Walk, which ‘feels like a demonstration and brings people together.’

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has told city councillors that she wants to change the organisational structure of the event from next year. The Stichting Pride Amsterdam’s contract expires in 2022.

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