From October 23 till October 26, Amsterdam will celebrate the yearly Amsterdam Leather Pride. Amsterdam Leather pride, with Get Ruff and many fetish and kinky events. A great time to explore Amsterdam's renown fetish and leather scene. Many special-interest fetish parties are taking place all over town. Also these dates are on many fetish-men's international agenda's, so a great time to cruise and who knows, find, your men from anywhere in the world.
The first Amsterdam Leather Pride was organized in 1996 by leather and fetish store RoB. The owner, Martijn Bakker, got the idea for this pride event a year earlier, during the thirty year anniversary of Motor Sportclub Amsterdam (MSA). The club had organized a large party weekend in October 1995 in a sold-out Hotel Arena (the communal dorm was a big success), with the cooperation of the entire fetish scene. Rightly, the party was highly praised by the more than thousand guests from home and abroad.
Practically everyone who had a thing for leather and fetish participated, thanks to the organizing committee, somewhat overwhelming the local entrepreneurs with the initiative. Whether the initiative was welcomed or not, it resulted in an extensive program for a week of leather and fetish fun. (Yes, in those days Leather Pride lasted a week.) Various parties, a sextafette in the cruise bars, a boot black service and lotteries in bars, a Mr Drummer Europe competition, a leather market, a leather diner in Hotel Arena are just some of the activities of the diverse program of that first Leather Pride.
This much fetish pleasure came at a price. Even though RoB’s task as organizer of the event was fun, it was also too much to be the only one initiating everything. Bakker had to look for partners to collaborate with. In 1997, Leather Pride Nederland was founded, a cooperation between RoB, Mister B and rubber specialist Black Body with the goal to continue the Amsterdam Leather Pride and put Amsterdam on the map as a gay and fetish destination.
With the start of the new millennium, the Amsterdam Leather Pride scaled down. The event now concentrated on the last weekend of October, with the Playgrounds parties as a highlight. This did not decrease the number of visitors, however, by now around 2,000. Remarkably, the city was not as tolerant as one might think after the gay 90s. This magazine published an article in 2004 about the Amsterdam Tourist Information Office, which blatantly ignored the gay scene by refusing the Amsterdam Gay Map en information on GLBT events, something Leather Pride Nederland also protested against.
We now know that city hall is now much more tolerant and appreciative of the social and economic value of a flourishing gay scene. At the same time, the Amsterdam Leather Pride and the fetish scene became smaller. The number of events decreased, the women disappeared to who knows where, and Leather Pride became a fetish weekend instead of a fetish week. The cooperation between the organizers did not always go smoothly either, and in 2009 Leather Pride Nederland was dissolved. RoB became the sole organizer again. Martijn Bakker sent out a press release in which he revealed the new name for the Pride week: “Get Ruff,” with as its highlight the new fetish party Ruff! The Party.
In 2014, the Amsterdam Leather Pride is no longer the only big fetish event in the capital with the arrival of the Amsterdam Fetish Pride at Ascension. Despite, or maybe because of this, it remains a classic on the Amsterdam gay and fetish agenda, and thousands of fetish lovers are again expected in the capital this year on the weekend of October 23. This year, Amsterdam will host the European Mister Leather as well!