Canal pride in Amsterdam was definitely a highlight of my Pride tour in Europe in 2019. I really wanted to celebrate on a boat like the locals, but never thought it could work. But still – I made it!
Arriving in Amsterdam
We arrived on Thursday morning, the plane started at 6am and when me and my friend arrived at the hostel at 10am I was over-tiered and just wanted to sleep. Not even coffee helped anymore. Since our room was not ready yet, we slept in the lounge on benches. Loud music in the background, two guys playing ping pong in front of us but I was so exhausted that I did not care and I fell asleep on the spot. When I woke up an hour later, I felt clearly better and we were allowed to move into our room. Once there, we got ready to explore the city centre. We walked through the streets and observed the traditional houseboats, bridges, the old houses and the canal.
Pride week is rainbow week
Since we arrived at Pride Week, the city was already decorated in rainbow colours all over, everywhere rainbow flags. I loved it. In the afternoon, I met up with a group from Couchsurfing in a gay bar (Cafe t´ Mandjes). The bar itself is small and a bit pricey, 6€ for a beer. The bar is colourfully decorated in pink and violet and lots of glitter stuff. Here I also met Huyb, a local living in Amsterdam. He offered me to show us the city and invited me to celebrate canal pride with him and his friends on a boat. Of course I said yes! I could not believe that my wish came true.
Best coffee shop in Amsterdam
Our first visit was to a coffee shop and of course Huyb as local knew which one was the best. Going to a coffee shop is of course a must do in Amsterdam. One of the best coffee shops and cannabis stores is Boerejongens coffeeshop in Utrechtsestraat in the city centre of Amsterdam close to the canal.
The vendors are wearing smart white tails, are super knowledgeable and have an answer for every question. The variety is huge and they recommend the sort of cannabis adapted to the time of day you want to smoke it. The coffee shop offers pre-rolled joints, you can buy gram wise or one of the delicious cake and biscuit pieces. We chose a lollipop-cake with pink chocolate icing and gold beads that was so delicious. Even the packaging itself was a magic piece. It was recommended to eat only a half and wait 30-60 minutes. But the cake was ways too tasty, soft and juicy to resist. We could not control ourselves and ate the whole cake, while chilling at the canal and watched the passing boats.
Reguliersstraat – trendy gay street
Reguliersstraat is the most famous, trendy gay street in Amsterdam and it is covered in rainbow flags. Colourful and full of gay coffee shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. I really loved the bar Blend which had good music and tasty beer. The party was up on Friday already and we danced on the street till very late. Everyone was in party mood and happy.
Pride on the boat
Next morning, we caught up with Huyb and went to the boat to wait for canal pride. For sure, the first step was to decorate the boat with balloons, flags and glitter. Once the boat looked pretty, the first boat of canal pride arrived already with loud music that made all of us start dancing and singing immediately.
Following the canal parade
Once the last boat of canal pride has passed, all the tiny boats of the locals start moving and following the parade on the water. Such a great vibe! Before we started, some of the people sitting next to the boat were jumping on the boat. It was crowed from one second to the other and the party kept on. We started singing random songs under the bridges to get a great sound and celebrated being gay without hiding.
On sunday, the day after canal pride, we chilled out at Vandelpark. Such a cute beautiful park in the centre of Amsterdam. Plenty of space to chill next to the lake, birds and nature. The perfect place to hang out and recover from pride. And even here you find beautiful stairs in rainbow colours – absolutely insta worthy.
Celebrating pride in Amsterdam is super special. Go have a look yourself next year!