Each year the Dutch city of Amsterdam hosts one of the most amazing pride events in the world.

This year Amsterdam Gay Pride week runs from July 30 until August 7, with major events being held during the weekend of August 5 – 7, during which Amsterdam’s city centre will host all weekend street parties, club circuit parties, and of course the famous Canal Parade on the Saturday.

The Canal Parade, featuring 75 decorated boats and watched by an estimated half a million people each year, starts at 2 pm on the Prinsengracht canal at Westerdok harbour. After Prinsengracht the boats turn left into the river Amstel, passing the so-called Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) and the Stadshuis (town hall) before making a right turn in the direction of the Oosterdok.

Want to pilot the canals with some friends and join in the fun? It is possible to seek to be an official entry through the parade organisers, We Are Proud Amsterdam. But the number of spaces each year is limited, so act fast.

The first real party night of the Pride weekend is Friday, August 5, when all the big gay street parties start.

In the city’s Reguliersdwarsstraat gay district you’ll find the young and trendy crowd getting down. For the locals, the so-called Amstel Dutch street party on the south bank of the river is the place to be.

Girls flock to parties in the Westermarkt and on Paardenstraat, while the party in Thorbeckeplein has a poppy Dutch vibe.

Saturday’s party on the Amstelveld, along the parade route, is an eclectic mix of music and it’s where gay and straight Amsterdam come to party together.

Big parties in 2010 were Masterbeat by Club Rapido and SuperMartXe Amsterdam at the Hotel arena, while Bear Necessity, for Bears and their admirers, was held at Amsterdam’s Odeon Theater. Many of these will be coming back in 2011.

The traditional Closing Party takes place in the afternoon and early evening of Sunday, with many Dutch artists and DJs performing.

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