Amsterdam vies for European-wide gay pride festival

Amsterdam Gay Pride canal parade 2015 (Picture: Twitter/@Kwebbelkop)Amsterdam Gay Pride canal parade 2015 (Picture: Twitter/@Kwebbelkop)

Amsterdam is a top candidate to be the host city of EuroPride 2016 - the European wide gay pride festival. The Amsterdam Gay Pride canal parade took place on Saturday, with 80 boats participating. The municipality called the event the "most visited in years", and in certain places the police even had to tell people to go somewhere else to watch the parade because it was too busy.

The directors of all the Gay Prides in Europe will becoming to Amsterdam next month to discuss and allocate the organization for EuroPride 2016, Het Parool reports. Amsterdam is a candidate for the host city.

Lucien Spee, director of Amsterdam Gay Pride, thinks that Amsterdam's nomination is very justified, especially given this successful edition of Gay Pride. "Everyone can see that Amsterdam is the only real gay capital of Europe", he said to the newspaper. "What is special about the Gay Pride in Amsterdam is that the  whole city is involved. Everyone participates. Madrid maybe attracts more visitors, but Gay Pride is nowhere as inclusive as in Amsterdam."

The theme for this year's Gay Pride was "Share", with the motto "share love, love differences". A total of 80 boats participated in the Canal Parade, a number of them broadcasting a message, NOS reports. The Refugee Boat drew attention the rights of homosexual refugees and migrants. The boat for young homeless people drew attention to their cause. There was also a Kingdom Boat, which gay organizations in Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten used to draw attentiont to the fact that marriage is not yet open to gay couples on the islands.

The number of parade visitors is estimated between 300,000 and 560,000. The actual figures for the parade and other Pride events will only be released later this week. The municipality of Amsterdam called the event the "most visited in years", according to NRC. A spokesperson for the municipality said that the event went "by the book". "The atmosphere has been good all week during the Gay Pride events. Today was no exception, despite the fact that there really were a lot of people."

Despite the crowds, the Canal Parade saw no major incidents. The police called it a "very calm event". A total of five pickpockets were arrested, one with five cellphones on his person, according to the police.