The Amsterdam Bear Weekend (ABW), now traditionally held during the third weekend of March, shows that cooperation between three organizations in the Amsterdam gay community can be successful.
For the fourth time now, the men behind Club Church, Bear Necessity and Furball are joining forces to organize a festival for the bear scene and everyone interested. Whereas in Amsterdam it is the most natural thing in the world to join forces and share success with each other, that is not the case everywhere. In Cologne, for instance, less than a two-hour drive from the capital, the Cologne Bears and the Bartmänner Köln almost literally fight each other out of town.
The reverse is happening for the much-discussed and well-visited ABW. Bars, clubs, shops and sauna: almost every venue with an affinity with the bear community is participating this year. You are welcome in The Eagle in the Warmoesstraat, just to socialize, and there is a special “bear sale” in Black Body in the Kerstraat. The Web (St. Jacobsstraat, near the Nieuwezijdskolk) is again the official “base” with a cosy Bear Cave. This year, the Spijkerbar deserves special attention for its bear programming, including the Bear Dance Night on Friday.
One of the highlights is of course the Bear Ball on Saturday. There, the new Mister Bear 2020 will be chosen, but there is also room for other activities - namely the Cuddle of the Year. It is the annual token of appreciation, created by the ABW, which the organizers will hand out to someone or something (person, organization, initiative, etc.) on the evening itself. People are considered who drive the community as a silent force, or because of their contribution as a role model, or simply by being who they are, having a positive effect on the bear community and beyond. Those who are being cuddled do not receive a fat check or eternal fame, but just a hug and a moment in the spotlight. Who doesn’t want that?
Amsterdam Bear Weekend: March 19-22, 2020. www.amsterdambearweekend.nl
UPDATE: Because of corona-measures, where gatherings for over 100 people are not allowed, the Amsterdam Bear Weekend is postponed to a date later this year.