The red light district of town is not an area I normally frequent, but by visiting the 800 year old Oude Kerk [“old church”] which is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, I like to make a change to my habits. It was founded ca. 1213 and finally consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. After the Reformation in 1578 it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today.
I wasn’t here for the building, which is a looker by the way, but the opening of the Pride Photo Award 2013 exhibition. I’m glad to live in a city where Freedom of Speech is normal, where a unique location can be used to show tourists, this is the red light district after all, not only the gravesite of Saskia van Uylenburgh [wife of Rembrandt], but also a unique photo expo.
This years theme is: Extremely Normal, and it shows GLBT people from around the world in their normal habitat. From 48 different nations some 3,300 photos were send in on this subject, and an international jury made a selection out of them. After several speeches, Councillor Andree van Es, who manages portfolios of Work, Income and Participation, Citizenship and Diversity and Administrative System for the City of Amsterdam, opened the expo.
For all those Amsterdam people who don’t visit this location in the Oude Kerk, several of the photos can be seen around town on squares, in shopping malls and other places that attract many people.