Leeuwarden will be hosting a major national event next year: Pink Saturday, an annual LGBTQ pride event which takes place in a different Dutch city each year. It will mark the first time that Friesland has played host to the festivities.
By Hans de Preter and Traci White
The Frisian capital city will be hosting Pink Saturday on June 20, 2020. Sjoerd Feitsma, the deputy mayor of Leeuwarden, told Omrop Fryslan that he was pleased to hear the news that Leeuwarden would get to throw the annual festivities and that the city will make sure that it is a party for everyone.
Surrounded by events attendees waving a rainbow version of the Frisian flag, Feitsma officially received the pink key from Venlo, the city in the southern Dutch province of Limburg which hosted the 2019 edition, over the weekend. Pink Saturday – Roze Zaterdag in Dutch – has been held since 1977, but has never been hosted by a Frisian city. “We think Fryslân is ready”, Feitsma says. The 1985 edition was held in Groningen.
Party for everyone
Pink Saturday is more than a day of celebration: like pride events around the world, the celebration on the last weekend of June is focused on raising awareness for diversity and political action for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer emancipation and equality. Feitsma says that Leeuwarden will keep that tradition going: “We will also work on themes such as acceptance and diversity. But above all, it must be a party for everyone, whether you are gay or straight.”
Each host city typically comes up with a slogan and a nickname for the occasion, but it is not yet known what Leeuwarden’s campaign will look like. Leeuwarden’s local pride parade is typically held in late May, and Groningen held its first Queer Pride event in early June.
While the biggest pride event in the Netherlands is held in Amsterdam in August during a week-long programme, Pink Saturday and other local or regional LGBTQ events are typically held across the country and the world in the month of June to coincide with the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the police raid of the gay bar, which is widely considered the catalyst to the modern LGBT pride movement.
In the Netherlands, the colour pink is closely associated with the LGBT community: in Amsterdam, the Homomonument near the Westerkerk is a Roze Driehoek (Pink Triangle), which was a symbol for LGBTQ prisoners at concentration camps in Germany during the Second World War.
Photo by Traci White