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Sharing the Rainbow with Future Generations!

by Lucien Spee in Columns & Opinions , 18 mei 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
Length: 4 minutes

Most of us will not have offspring. However, it is our duty to ensure that we can pass on the rainbow in all its bright colors to future generations. With this in mind, I have been taking part in the festival consultation with the municipality of Amsterdam regarding a new events policy since 2014.

Late February, the result was finally presented to the city council, and the policy came into effect on March 1, 2018. One of these objectives is that from 2020 onwards, only sustainable events will take place in our city. All events with more than 2,000 visitors, including Gay Pride Amsterdam, must meet the set criteria in terms of organization, energy, water, waste, and mobility in order to qualify for a permit. The sustainability criteria will be implemented in phases in between 2018 and 2020.

This year, Phase 1 will be applicable to Gay Pride, and besides many organic adjustments, we will also make a serious appeal to our visitors. A month prior to the Pride, we will kick-off an awareness campaign that will inform participants and visitors about the new situation, and what you yourself can do to make the Pride more sustainable.


The starting point is the “Trias Energetica.” We will primarily take a look at limiting the energy demand by taking savings measures. We will try to make as much use as possible of sustainable electricity for the unavoidable energy demand. Finally, when it comes to the final energy demand that cannot be extracted from green electricity, we aim to keep this to a minimum. As far as parties are concerned, we will be running on fifty percent green energy this year, get at least ten percent of our total power demand from battery storage, and will use at least fifty percent of eco-diesel for the generation of the remaining forty percent.


In order to prevent surface water pollution, our goal is to fully switch to one hundred percent environmentally-friendly cleaning products and will also deliver all pure urine collected to Waternet. They can recover nutrients from it. We will also try to place more urinals along the route of the boat parade. To achieve this, we seek cooperation from residents who have no problem with a Dixie or a urinal in front of their house or flat.


A boat parade without music and confetti is no fun, we are well aware of that, but perhaps less is more? This year we will come up with even clearer rules. The use of plastic / metallic confetti, for instance, is strictly prohibited. Only biodegradable material may be used. To reduce festival waste, we have taken a number of measures. We no longer publish a festival magazine, we work with returnable cups, and we discourage the purchase of cans of beer and soft drinks from supermarkets. In addition to this, we will be switching to the separation of glass, plastic, cardboard, cans and residual waste products behind the bars and food stalls. A number of GLBT artists will create works with the collected cans. The results will be exhibited in 2019.


Mobility is an point of particular interest in the sustainability of Pride. Approximately fifty percent of our Dutch visitors come from Amsterdam itself, twenty-five percent from the surrounding area, and twenty-five percent from the rest of the country. That means a large number of traffic movements with our estimated number of visitors. Together with the Dutch Railways NS, we will try to get as many of the visitors from the rest of the country here by rail and will sell special Pride Amsterdam Return tickets with a twenty percent discount. For those who, for whatever reason, still want to come by car, we have arranged large discounted parking in Q-Park garages that can be booked through our website.

Sustainable Participants

At the highlight of the Pride on Saturday, August 4th, there are also a number of participants in the parade who want to make visitors aware of sustainability. A usual suspect in this is Greenpeace. For the first time in history, Greenpeace will celebrate “All colors of the Rainbow” with a boat in our parade. Since its founding in the early 1970s, Greenpeace has linked environmental activism to a strong belief in equality, diversity and democracy. To them, it has always been perfectly logical to “share” the rainbow with the GLBT community, as justice for the environment goes hand in hand with human rights and justice for all.  

A less usual suspect is car lease company Leaseplan. They have been working on a new generation of mobility for a number of years now. They are a founding partner of the EV-100 initiative, and have set themselves the ambitious goal of net zero emissions from their total fleet in 2030. Their boat will be powered by solar and kinetic energy, but to make the parade as a whole more sustainable, Leaseplan has offered to sponsor the difference between the price of diesel and eco-diesel. As a result, we will significantly reduce the total CO2 emissions of the parade.

   Lucien Spee is general director of the Foundation Amsterdam Pride, for more info see



published Dec 2017       


In the New Issue of Gay News, 335, July 2019

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