Pink Saturday in Utrecht

Roze ZaterdagEverywhere you look in Utrecht today, you’ll see pink. You’ll also see balloons, pink limousines, stalls, crowds of people, stages in all the big squares, and lots of rainbow-colored items. All of this and more is because today is Roze Zaterdag (Pink Saturday), the annual event celebrating the LGBT community and sexual diversity and equality. Each year a different city plays host to this event and this year it’s Utrecht’s turn to be the Roze Stad (Pink City).

As I mentioned previously, the city created a rainbow crosswalk in town as part of the celebrations, and yesterday the stages were being put in place in the Domplein, Neude, Janskerkhof, Korte Minrebroederstraat, and Lucas Bolwerk. There are also sporting events and other activities and performances taking place indoors and outdoors at various locations. There’s even a kids area in one of the parks.

Roze Zaterdag
We wandered through the various stalls set up along Lucas Bolwerk, which is serving as something of an information point for the festival, as well as hosting performances. The stalls were an interesting mix of groups, which included over-50 dating groups, various vendors selling all sorts of products, and health-oriented groups. Interestingly there were also a number of political parties with stalls set up, including the SP and VVD. The one I found most interesting, from a US perspective, was the Dutch Government Pride display.
Roze Zaterdag
They had people there representing police, fire services, and military. In fact, in the photo above, there are military people there representing the Stichting Homosexualiteit & Krijgsmacht (Homosexuality and Armed Forces Foundation), a union that represents gay and lesbian personnel to the ministry of defence. It wasn’t until late 2011 that the US finally lifted the ban on homosexuals serving in the military, whereas they have been allowed to serve openly in the Dutch military since 1974. As well as being the first country to recognize gay marriage, the Netherlands was the first country to lift the ban on gays serving in the military.
Roze Zaterdag
But that’s enough political talk. As I’m sitting here typing, I can hear all sorts of music playing, including live bands and even a drum line. Earlier today, for the Saturday afternoon Domtoren concert, we were treated to songs such as Mama Mia, YMCA, and even a bit of Daft Punk! There’s nothing like standing in the kitchen, preparing lunch, and realizing that the carillon bells are, in fact, playing Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Not surprisingly, the Domtoren was also flying the rainbow flag next to the Dutch flag.

I love this city!
Roze Zaterdag

6 thoughts on “Pink Saturday in Utrecht

  1. Wow, the rainbow flag on the Dom tower! That must be a first! I am sorry the trains don’t run today, otherwise I would have been there. Thanks for this post, so I can still be proud of the city I was born in and where I grew up. In 1986 there were groups of ‘strong’ gay men on alert to prevent any fights with groups opposing gays and lesbians. They weren’t needed but they had still been needed the year before. So many years on and everything has improved even more.
    I love this country! πŸ˜‰

    • I had a bit of a late night last night and I’m not a fan of crowds, otherwise I would have headed out to the other parts of town. The Domplein is packed with people right now! It’s great that there’s such a large turnout although I’m sorry you couldn’t make it. Your city is doing you proud, though! I’m so glad things are improving and I hope they continue to improve around the world, sooner rather than later. I’m glad the Netherlands has been setting such a good example for other countries. πŸ˜‰

  2. Our militairy officially accepted openly gay soldiers as far back as 1974? Never knew that, that’s quite impressive! I’m not one for patriotism ususally, but reading this post made me proud to be Dutch and happy to live in this progressive little country. Shame I couldn’t make it into town today, hearing the Dom bells ring to the tune of YMCA would have been fun!

  3. The rainbow flag wasn’t only on the Domtower (which belong to the municipality). The rainbow flags were also at the gate of the Domchurch which is an active parish of the Protestant Church of the Netherlands. Normally they have a flag with the Utrecht colors and Saint Martin on it, but for the whole week before the Pink Saturday they waved the rainbow flag with pride.

    Since the merge of several protestant denominations back in 2004 which gave rise to the PKN (Protestantse Kerk Nederland) there has been official liturgy included for weddings of partners of the same sex in the book of liturgy for the protestant church. Liturgy is only slightly different than that of a wedding of partners of the opposite sex.

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