Amsterdam Gay Pride

I was flipping through my photos recently and realized that I neglected to post about the Amsterdam Gay Pride festival. Considering what a HUGE event Pride is, this was a big oversight on my part. Oops. So now you get my perspective on the event (just a little late).

The Amsterdam Gay Pride is a week long festival that occurs annually in August. This year Amsterdam hosted EuroPride, a gay pride festival hosted by a different European city each year, so the festival lasted 3 weeks this year. There are always tons of events ranging from drag shows to parties to film screenings. And this year, thanks to EuroPride, there were even more events. Conchita Wurst (2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner) performed this year as part of EuroPride but unfortunately, I didn’t get to see her. It is impossible to attend all the events and parties.

People come from all over Europe (and the world) to celebrate. The streets are crowded with people in pink* and rainbow garb. There are beer and concession vendors (plus information tents) all over the town center. You can also buy (or sometimes get free) swag ranging from t-shirts to penis balloons. The balloons seemed to be quite popular this year. I ended up with a free fan this year.

Last year was my first Pride and I had no idea what to expect. I arrived late to an event and could barely see the performers. It was still fun but I would have enjoyed it more had I been able to see more of the show. This year I decided to do it right. I planned what I wanted to see and arrived early. Dressing up is part of the fun so I spent a lot of time putting together my costume. Mike even got into the spirit with a feather boa. We ordered him an ally pin but it didn’t arrive in time. On the upside he has it for next year.

My Pride outfit in the colors of the bi pride flag. The tights are very pink and sparkly (the picture doesn't show all the glitter sadly).
My Pride outfit in the colors of the bi pride flag.

We decided to check out the Canal Parade and staked out our spot early. We were near the end of the route so it was maybe 15-20 minutes after the start time that we saw the first float. The Canal Parade is a quintessentially Dutch (and extremely popular) part of the festivities. Local groups and businesses put together floats for the parade.

It was heartening to see all the support for the community. Amsterdam is committed to making the city safe and welcome for the LGBTQIA+ individuals and it shows. I’m happy to live in a country where it is safe to be yourself and love who you love. And I’m lucky to have found someone who loves and supports me (and is willing to wear a boa to prove it). Pride was a lot of fun this year and I’m looking forward to the festivities next year.

The decorations on the boat next to us at the parade.
The decorations on the boat next to us at the Canal Parade.

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pink-orange-float

Drag queen with pink paper hair
Drag queen with pink paper hair
Inter-faith float supporting queer individuals
Inter-faith float supporting queer individuals
Mike and I enjoying the parade
Mike and I enjoying the parade

*Pink is the official color of the LGBTQIA+ community is the Netherlands.

Sculpture in Amsterdam

I have a bit of an obsession with finding art in public spaces. Below is some of the art I’ve stumbled upon while wandering Amsterdam.

I couldn't find a title or description for this sculpture.
I couldn’t find a title or description for this sculpture.
This is a statue of Spinoza. The inscription at the bottom reads "De doel van de staat is de vrijheid" or "The purpose of the state is freedom."
This is a statue of Spinoza. The inscription at the bottom reads “De doel van de staat is de vrijheid” or “The purpose of the state is freedom.”
This guy is sticking out of a wall near a canal. Again no title or descriptor found.
This guy is sticking out of a wall near a canal. Again no title or descriptor found.
mural on Spui
mural on Spui
Sculpture in Westergasfabriek
Sculpture in Westergasfabriek
Floating sculpture in Westergasfabriek
Floating roccoco dress sculpture in Westergasfabriek
De schreeuw in Oosterpark
De schreeuw in Oosterpark
"Gedeeld verleden, gezamenlijke toekomst" (shared past, common future), Oosterpark
“Gedeeld verleden, gezamenlijke toekomst” (shared past, common future), Oosterpark

You can see more art that I’ve found around the Netherlands here.

Rollende Keukens

Last Thursday we visited Rollende Keukens in Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam. As the name suggests this is a several day food truck event. Almost the whole park was end to end food trucks and music tents. We arrived early enough to nab a picnic spot on the grass. You could find pretty much any type of international, fusion, or Dutch food you could want. Our group had bahn-mi, mango-pineapple lassie, seafood burgers, fancy mac n cheese (topped with basil and tomato), stracciatella and churros.  I’d love to go again next year.

Welkom bij Rollende Keukens
Welkom bij Rollende Keukens
Combo music and beer tent with some trippy artwork
Combo music and beer tent with some trippy artwork
Dutch Weed Burger - from what I could tell this was just a veggie burger
Dutch WeedBurger – from what I could tell this was just a veggie burger but no one in the group tried it so I don’t know for sure
Kunst en Kookwerk
Kunst en Kookwerk – artisan tortillas
Chicks on a Stick - their
Chicks on a Stick – their slogan is Hottest Chicks in Town
Zwaardvis
Zwaardvis on display at one of the many seafood trucks

Troppenmuseum

Troppenmuseum buiten
The Troppenmuseum is a multicultural museum located in Amsterdam Oost. There are exhibits showcasing the native cultures of Amsterdam immigrants from Southern Asia to Africa. The displays explore art, religion, and colonialism. As someone with a degree in anthropology, I knew I had to visit it.

The art and ritual artifacts were amazing! I enjoyed seeing the similarities and differences in the artwork especially the masks and puppets. The most difficult part to see was the section on colonialism. It is a challenging subject to approach but the exhibit handled it decently.

I really enjoyed the Muziekwereld room where you could listen to different instruments. The instruments ranged from wood and skin drums to sitars to accordions. It would be easy to lose hours in this room.

From the Rondom Azië exhibit, Indian Cinema
From the Rondom Azië exhibit, Indian Cinema

Troppenmuseum trap

Afternoon in Amsterdam

This past Saturday, we started off the afternoon having lunch with friends at De Hallen Amsterdam. De Hallen is home to a food hall (where we had lunch), film theater, library, studios, and more. Today they also had an artisan fair where you could buy anything from tea to art to raincoats. The food hall is an indoor food market with a variety of stalls serving different foods: Vietnamese spring rolls, Australian pies, French pastries, American burgers, and gourmet bitterballen to name a few.

De Hallen Amsterdam
De Hallen Amsterdam

After lunch, Mike and I saw a movie at Theater Tuschinski. It is a beautiful theater built in 1921 by a Polish man, Abraham Tuschinski. The theater’s architecture is a mix of Art Deco and Jugenstil. The building is opulent but also very cozy with multiple zaals or theaters tucked in throughout the building. They also give daily tours if you want to see more of the building.

Theater Tuschinski, Amsterdam
Theater Tuschinski, Amsterdam
Lobby of Theater Tuschinski, Amsterdam
Lobby of Theater Tuschinski, Amsterdam

Festival of Lights

You may be thinking that it is a little late to post about Hanukkah but it is the right time for the Amsterdam Festival of Lights. Streets and buildings are lit up for the holidays. There are also a bunch of popup stalls with holiday goodies: oliebollen, wafels, stroopwafels, cheese, worst and sausages, beer and more. Below are some of my favorite shots from around the city.

Train station in Amsterdam
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Around the holidays pop-up stalls filled with holiday goodies line the street.
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Lights are strung between buildings across the street from each other. This is an interesting holiday message (yes this means the same thing in Dutch as it does in English).
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Even the coffee shops get into the holiday spirit.
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Ok, so this isn’t officially part of the Festival of Lights but there are lights on it so I am counting it. Oliebollen are similar to fried donuts.
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Holiday In Amsterdam (Part 2)

Here is the promised post about the palace. Sorry about the delay, we currently have no Internet and I am posting this from the library.

The palace was originally built as a town hall where the king heard complaints from the citizens and where the tax and treasury offices were located. Now the palace is used mostly for tours and official functions. Most of the offices have been converted into guest rooms that are still used by visiting officials. This palace is one of 3 available to the Dutch King, Willem-Alexander, and his family. The palace is closed to the public when the Royals are in residence.

This is the Citizen’s Hall (and where the tour of the palace begins). Maps of the earth and stars adorn the floor. The statue of Atlas in the back is the focal point when you enter the chamber. The chandeliers used to house gas lamps but they have since upgraded to electric bulbs.
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Close up of one of the maps on the floor.
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Former throne room. Disputes were heard here and marriages that could not be performed in a church took place here.
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Chandeliers in the throne room.
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Sconce in the throne room.
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Bust of Louis Napoleon
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A smaller room off of the throne room.
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Treasury extraordinaire office converted into a guest room.
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Secretary’s office.
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Treasury ordinaire office converted into a guest chamber.
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Small office/meeting room.
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Ceiling painting.
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One of the many ornate clocks in the palace.
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Another meeting room.
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Panoramic of another meeting room.
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Supports for the chandelier.
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Chandelier detail.
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Meeting room.
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If you are visiting Amsterdam you can visit the palace, for more information on tours (or just more information on the palace check out: Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam. The palace is pretty close to the train station so it is
easy to find.

Holiday in Amsterdam (part 1)

This weekend Mike and I decided to hang out in Amsterdam. We decided to take it slow and only hit a few places. As soon as we left the station the holiday spirit was everywhere.

holiday street scene

Our first stop was for the best fries in Amsterdam: Vlaams Fritehuis. I recommend the mayonnaise or the speciaal curry (mayonnaise and curry ketchup topped with raw onions).

Then we were thirsty so we swung by this place: Heineken

Logo

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logos

Here is where the brewing occurs:
brewing room

the process

brewery

water and barley

Bet you didn’t know Heineken is still delivered by horse and cart. The horses are well taken care of and even get a vacation time (in the country).
stables

blacklight brew

At the end of the tour you get to try some beer. Yes, this “bar” is part of the tour.
the bar

My beer (yep they give you two).
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Next stop was the Royal Palace also known as Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam. Check out my next post about the palace.