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Letter from Brussels: EuroPride 2020, Preferably in Antwerp

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 14 augustus 2017

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Dear Neighbors to the North, Brussels, or should I say some over-zealous French-speaking and Brussels-based interest groups in the GLBTI community, want to organize EuroPride in our capital in 2020. Bringing the EuroPride to Belgium is a good idea, but the thought of organizing it in Brussels gives me the chills.

In the first place because “Brussels” still seems unable to organize a decent Pride, not to mention getting the necessary go-ahead and cooperation from local and political authorities for such an event. The last edition of Belgian Pride was terrible. A handful of trucks and many, many, political parties in particular. The Belgian Pride is nothing but the political recovery of parties who want to get votes from the gay community. That is their prerogative, but if the Belgian Pride continues to be a political showcase, I am out. And I did make the effort to watch the entire parade, looking for something that was not political. It was occasionally there, but nothing to write home about.

I have another reason for thinking that EuroPride should not be organized in and from Brussels. It has to do - here we go again - with Belgian community politics. And especially with the internal feuds that have been dividing the organizing committee of the Belgian Pride in Brussels for years, both politically and linguistically. Their only merit is that a Pride indeed takes place every year, despite all the difficulties and fights, but the result clearly shows that it was preceded by a lot of internal disagreement.

My favorite city Brussels undoubtedly has a lot of potential, but not when it comes to organizing a EuroPride. Practically speaking, the city centre is not actually suitable for EuroPride. In recent years, the city council has imposed more and more restrictions on open passage. The old excuse that this is “for reasons of security” may only be partly valid. If a EuroPride is organized, you can bet it will take place outside of the centre somewhere on the Heizel. All not to offend the electorate and residents of the city of Brussels with a parade of decadent homosexuals and their buddies.

For this and many other reasons, I would prefer the EuroPride 2020 to take place in Antwerp. The organizers of the Antwerp Pride have clearly demonstrated in the past that they are able to compile a program spanning multiple days and with something for everyone. From exhibitions to hardcore nights, and both for those who prefer activities during the day and those who like after-parties. That also explains the increasing success of Antwerp Pride for the French-speaking Belgians, who are now also saying that the Antwerp Pride is more fun than Belgian Pride.

They are not wrong. More and more Belgians lost interest in the politically inspired Belgian Pride and prefer the no-nonsense ambiance of Antwerp Pride. Most of them - including myself - book a hotel and turn the event into a fantastic city trip in their own country. And the City Council of Antwerp will do everything in their power to ensure that the whole event will take place in the centre, with its many market places and long avenues.

I sincerely hope that the people in Antwerp and the organizers of the Antwerp Pride will be given an opportunity to nominate Antwerp for EuroPride 2020. I will address them personally and will motivate and support them all the way. And the Dutch would also be happy. For them, Antwerp is the Belgian gay city, while Brussels is just too far away.

Yours sincerely,

De Ket



published Aug 2018       


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