ATTENTION WORLD!

I just returned from a weekend in Amsterdam and I feel I need to share something important: Amsterdam is damn pretty. I’ve said it before but it calls for another shout-out. I spent pretty much all day of Saturday on a boat during Amsterdam’s annual gay pride (which takes place on the canals), and I can unequivocally declare Amsterdam to be oh-so-pretty.

The annual canal parade (probably my first ever parade on water) goes through the center of Amsterdam along some of the city’s prettiest canals—notably Prinsengracht where I’ve previously photographed approximately one million pretty buildings. But the parade also goes down the Amstel river and ends into the harbor. And along the entire route, the scene from the canals was nothing short of beautiful. From crowds of people wearing pink to the brownstone buildings draped in rainbow flags, Amsterdam’s gay pride parade didn’t just convince me that the city can be fun — but that it’s also stunningly beautiful.

And not just the buildings, but the people, too. Besides the tall, blond-haired babes, I found the Dutch people so warm and welcoming over the weekend. From the bartender at a trendy cocktail bar to the strangers I met during the pride parade, I don’t think I met a single person in Amsterdam who didn’t manage to make me smile. Of course it helps that they’re a bit easy on the eyes, too.

But it was my Saturday afternoon spent on the canals of Amsterdam during pride which left my face etched with a smile for the next two days. I spent nearly the entire time of the gay pride (about 4 hours) on a press boat during which I photographed the city, the people and the parade. Being on boat with a fancy-looking camera and a giant sign that said “PRESS,” I’m sure we got a lot more looks than otherwise. Onlookers from the docked boats along the canals, and the people standing, sitting and hanging onto the bridges were perhaps all friendly and happily trying to get the attention of my camera. It seemed that everyone wanted their picture taken. And with over 1,500 photos from the parade, I just might’ve gotten photos of all of them!

The backdrop of beautiful buildings, Amsterdam’s UNESCO World Heritage listed canals and countless bridges full of cheering & colorful crowds — Amsterdam’s pride is without a doubt one of the most scenic I’ve seen. Below are a small selection of my thousands of photos from the canal parade. More can be found on Flickr if you’re interested.

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

And one of my favorite photos…

When our boat passed by the Freedom to Marry float, I was at first happy to spot lots of American flags. Knowing that the Netherlands was the first country to pass a freedom to marry law for same-sex couples, and knowing that the USA is getting increasingly close to the same, I couldn’t help but smile and scream some cheers. But then I spotted a woman pointing at her hand. And that’s when I saw it: a wedding ring. Such a simple and small thing, but so symbolic. I couldn’t help but smile.

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2014

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10 comments

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  1. Wow Adam, stunning shots! Seeing the Pride from the boat is so different, you can actually get a very close look of the people on the other boats, it must have been awesome. It’d be lovely if we get to be on a boat too next year, because if we can, we will return to Amsterdam Pride, it was simply too much fun! :)

  2. This is DEVASTATING!
    I was debating, umming and ahhing about whether to go.
    I’ve been to Amsterdam Pride twice before – it’s literally a 40 minute hop from London – but each time it POURED with rain.
    So this year I really couldn’t decide if it was going to be three times unlikely. And to see your photos and the sunshine!
    Maybe next year. Argh…
    Great photos though!

    • Ahhh – if we let weather dictate our travel choices, we’d be stuck in a lot of places! It actually did rain for about 20-30 minutes during the parade, but that didn’t seem to stop anyone from having fun! Things got a bit messy, sure, but it was still pretty cool. And afterward the sun came right out!

  3. Amazing photos Adam! I love Amsterdam so much, it’s so so pretty and you’re right,the people are both friendly and very easy on the eye! ;) x

    • Thanks Christine for the photography compliment! It’s a lovely city

  4. These photos are breathtaking- this makes me miss Amsterdam so much! Now I really want to make it the Pride Day celebrations- how awesome!

    • It’s a great party – the whole city seems to come alive and there were countless street parties in every part of the city. It was really an awesome atmosphere, Teryn, so definitely go if you can!

  5. I was in Vancouver a few days ago and they also have like one of the best gay pride parades ever! It was so exciting everyone was dressed up and they had rainbow flags… even the restaurants and bars were putting their part flying rainbow flags at the entrance and till ect! Some people put a lot of effort into their clothing choice, some people were even completely nude – they were rejected into like 5 restaurants hahahaha! It is nice to see the community celebrating something so wonderful there were street barbecues afterwards and all! :-) Great photos by the way, wish I would have taken some!

    • Hey Aimee – sounds like Vancouver is a fun city for gay pride, too! I’ve never been to Vancouver but have heard good things. Funny to hear about the naked people! I was honestly expecting more nudity in Amsterdam but I didn’t stumble on much :p

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