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Pride Amsterdam awarded Best Public Event in The Netherlands

by Lucien Spee in Columns & Opinions , 20 juni 2018

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

Our Pride, which due to its special character is often forgotten to be named in the list of the largest and most important festivals in the Netherlands, has now received such national recognition. At the end of March, I received word that we were nominated for best public event in the Netherlands.

It is a prize that is awarded once every two years during and by the “Nationaal Congres Evenementen.” This is a conference for the public sector in which municipal officials come together and exchange experiences in the area of licensing of metropolitan events and their use for the marketing of their city.

Two weeks later, on April 16, I was sitting in the theatre hall of the Rotterdam Public Library with our communications man Danny de Vries and our permit provider and official at the Amsterdam events agency, Daniel Schipper. After the screening of the video introducing the nominees, I wasn’t so sure of our victory anymore.

Spectacular images from the other contenders were shown in the screening as well. The lights went on and the chairman took the floor. She explained that the jury had never had a harder time and that for the first time they had decided to have two events share the title. The tension rose, but when I heard her say that it was decided on two events that both had a special edition in 2016, I was sure and jumped up.

Alongside the director of the Annual Four Day Walking Event in Nijmegen, who had organized its hundredth edition in 2016, I took to the stage to receive the award. At the presentation of the award, the jury report was read in which our event was praised for the contribution it makes to Amsterdam as a place where freedom can be celebrated as well as the development that our Pride has undergone over the past twenty-two years.

At that moment I felt so privileged that I could not keep my eyes dry. In many countries, one can only dream of the freedom in which we live as GLBT people in the Netherlands and of the support we receive from both the government and the business community for the organization of our Pride. That as a proud gay person, you can receive an Award for your Pride as the best Public event in your country. For most Pride organizers, this is unfortunately a dream that will never come true.

Next year it is exactly fifty years ago that in New York the regular visitors of the gay bar The Stonewall Inn rebelled against the police. The riots that followed were the starting signal for demonstrations and protests worldwide. Half a century later, a lot has been achieved, but there are still seventy-six countries in which GLBT people are at risk of being persecuted and punished for who they are and/or whom they love.

In those countries, activists still have a lot of work to do, and it is therefore important that the international community shows that we support them and give an example from which one can draw hope.

With that in mind, it would of course be great if the Pride were to be placed on the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. As the United States of America has not ratified the Unesco Convention and the chance that they will do so is very small, the “Mother of Prides” will not succeed in getting Pride on the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage List over the coming decades.

With the support of our government, Pride Amsterdam can and wants to take on this task. In November 2017 we therefore signed up and received the good news that we were approved just before Christmas. Initially, this only applies to the network through which we can commence our project to get our Pride on the national inventory list.

Then it is up to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science whether she wants to nominate us internationally. Together with our office manager Anita Beek I attended the national Intangible Cultural Heritage Day in Woerden on Saturday, April 14.

At the drinks concluding the meeting on the castle’s landing, I started talking to the director of the “Nederlandse Kennis Centrum” (a governmental advisory body) philosophizing about the strength and hope that such an international placement on the Unesco list would signal to the rest of the world. Hopefully the Minister will see how fantastic it would be if the Netherlands could start this process in June 2019 as a gift to StoneWall 50. If Unesco should then decide within a two-year period to include our Pride on its 2021 list, we can then celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first ever gay marriage in the world with a new milestone.

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



published Mar 2016       

published May 2017       

published Nov 2015       

published Mar 2018       


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

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