Yesterday was the main event of EuroPride2016, our world-famous Canal Parade. I didn’t make photos, others have better equipment and a more steady hand than I do. Below you find some impressions and on Facebook you’ll find another 595+ photos…
The Netherlands is the only country in Europe that commemorates the victims of the Second World War and celebrates its liberation on two separate but consecutive days. We remember the Dutch victims of wartime violence on May 4, and on May 5 we celebrate our freedom.
The fact that the Netherlands observes Remembrance Day and celebrates Liberation Day, the day on which the German army capitulated, on two separate days is primarily the result of the strong influence that former members of the resistance had in Dutch society directly after the Second World War. The Dutch resistance had already gained considerable authority during the war. After the country had been liberated, the former resistance was relatively well organized and prominently represented in government circles. The most important reason why the national commemoration of Remembrance Day takes place on May 4 and not on May 5 is that directly after the Second World War, both the survivors and the bereaved in the former resistance circles found it inappropriate to mourn the victims of war and to celebrate the liberation on the same day. In their view, the emotions that went along with both sets of memories were incompatible. As the Netherlands had not played an active role in the First World War, the country did not already have a tradition of commemoration in the mid-1940s. Whereas most other European countries had commemoration traditions of a military character stemming from the First World War, the Netherlands was free to commemorate and celebrate in its own distinct manner.
The Dutch tradition of remembrance and celebration that developed in response to the Second World War had a primarily local character. In all Dutch cities and villages, local committees, organizations, associations or municipal officials organize a remembrance ceremony on May 4 or on another day in connection with the local war history and on May 5 there is often a celebration in honor of the liberation and freedom. In addition to all the local groups, there are also numerous other organizations in the Netherlands founded by people who have been affected by wars. They often organize their own ceremonies of remembrance in connection with various different historical events. For example commemorations are organized in reference to (the liberation of) various extermination and concentration camps, such as those in Mauthausen, Auschwitz and Ravensbruck, where Dutch citizens were killed. While other gatherings commemorate specific events such as the bombardment of Rotterdam or the massive razzias in Putten, in the northeast of the Netherlands. The Netherlands also commemorates the war in its former colony the Dutch East Indies and the end of the Second World War on August 15. And each year the Auschwitz Committee organizes the Holocaust/Auschwitz commemoration on the last Sunday in January.
So besides May 4 and 5, there are over 40 other occasions throughout the year when victims are remembered and survivors and people concerned get together to commemorate. All these different experiences and stories converge on May 4. On that day, at 8pm, the entire country – including those who experienced the war first hand and everyone else who recognizes the civic importance of remembering – commemorates the victims of wartime violence in silence.
Monday it drizzled the whole day, even after my not feeling well from the day before, I just went to town to see the Hearts, Kings and Queens of Zeedijk. All photos were made by my friend Nicky de Boer, who volunteered for this event. Because of her I could have a peek in the Olav Chapel, the second oldest place of worship in the city of Amsterdam (1440-1450) now part of neighboring NH Barbizon Palace hotel.
I know most of these people, in or out of drag, but I’m not going to tell you who they are, or what they do for a living, it would astound you. This is Amsterdam after all, anything is possible!
I do love the time I’ve had visiting all those Pride places, meeting new people, connecting with old friends again and networking the crowd.
Last Friday I helped a friend out at an ‘old age pensioners home’ (OAP), pumping up balloons for the big show event on Tuesday.
On Saturday I cancelled a viewing of an exhibit and a ‘baptism’ of a new magazine, due to the summer storm we had.
On Sunday the storm died down a bit but was replaced with a monsoon.
Monday came soon enough, the opening of Senior Pride at OBA (Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam aka Public Library). This was held in the Theater of the Word on the seventh floor, of course afterwards we all went for a drink or two, three, fou… in the bars on Zeedijk.
Without much sleep Tuesday arrived soon afterwards… Drag-queen friends would perform at OAP, with songs from the past but also some of the present. It was a fun day out not only for those old folk but for me aswell.
Wednesday was showtime for our team of artists at the Palace of Melancholy (Paleis van de Weemoed) a small theater we use in the heart of the Red Light district. Again I didn’t sleep in bed, but fell asleep in my comfy chair while the TV was still on and the lights were burning.
Thursday came and another event was planned at the Palace, but this time in front of it, the stage was floating in the canal and so was the green room (which was pink btw), my workplace. I only had to keep the audience at bay. A nice security officer kept an eye on it too, from accross the road. They told him in advance I had problems with walking and running. I only met the crew last week, I felt like I fell into a hot bath, the warmth and camaraderie of the staff was great. Another night in the comfy chair was enjoyed.
Just an hour ago it was Friday, which started for me with the CockTail Party in the forecourt at Legend The Grand Hotel in the former Prinsenhof (Princes Court). At last we had dry weather, and even the sun was shining. Upon arrival we got a mini bottle of Rosé Imperial by Moët & Chandon, delicious bitterballen (small veal croquettes) but also a choice of cheeses and meats. The waiting staff included. 😉
Several performances were planned, like Lady Felice & The Rozettes (we already have tickets for the next show) and Grand Diva Karin Bloemen who sang a song with a new text on a famous melody, many wondered if they heard her right when she sang about fucking, blow-jobs and rimming. (Yeah, you heard her right!)
My friends and I won in the raffle a big bottle of Pink Champagne by M&C and two crystal flutes, of the three of us only two drink alcohol and the date is already set when this consuming will happen. Afterwards we went to hear Ms Victory False sing at the Getto bar on Warmoesstraat, but also her special guest Pete Statham, both are communal friends of ours.
It’s already Saturday, and the main event is the Canal Parade. Our floats really float! But more of that later. There are only two days left of Amsterdam Pride 2015. I must admit, I look forward to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because I have nothing planned but a good book and sleep, lots of sleep.
The nation was liberated largely by the First Canadian Army, which included in addition to Canadian forces the British I Corps, and the 1st Polish Armoured Division, as well as, at various times, American, Belgian, Dutch and Czechoslovak troops. Parts of the country, in particular the south-east, were liberated by the British Second Army, which included American and Polish airborne forces, (Operation Market Garden) and French airbornes (Operation Amherst). On 5 May 1945, the Canadian General Charles Foulkes and the German Commander-in-Chief Johannes Blaskowitz reached an agreement on the capitulation of German forces in the Netherlands in Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen. One day later, the capitulation document was signed in the auditorium of Wageningen University, located next door.
After the liberation in 1945, Liberation Day was commemorated every five years. Finally, in 1990, the day was declared to be a national holiday, when the liberation would be commemorated and celebrated every year.
The Liberation Festivals taking place across the country are a highlight of Liberation Day. The festivals will have extensive musical programmes and big-name acts relating to the theme of freedom. At various spots in the city, Dutch bands and international musicians and DJs will perform live.
Liberation Day will conclude with one of the biggest events of the day, the Amstel Concert. Starting at 9.00 p.m., artists from diverse musical genres will perform on an enormous floating podium, with the stately Royal Carré Theatre in the background. The concert will be attended by the King and Queen, as well as all volunteers for the 4 and 5 May festivities.
The logo for May 4 & 5 is a torch from its flame comes a dove of peace. The slogan is: “Keep The Fire Of Freedom Burning”