Photo: Municipality of Amsterdam/Edwin van Els
This article is based on a text by Paul Hofman for Gaykrant. Read the original here.

While Amsterdam’s hospitality industry has been hit hard by the corona crisis, Amsterdam entrepreneurs Eward Koning and Robbert Overmeer (chairmen of BIZ Reguliersdwarsstraat and BIZ Utrechtsestraat respectively) have joined forces. For them, the past corona period has been an excellent opportunity to reflect on the future of the city. In this article, the two enthusiastic ‘pink’ Amsterdam Experts look ahead to the coming years together. Eward and Robbert are bursting with ideas Eward: “We want to bring all LGBT+ organisations, companies and initiatives in Amsterdam closer together and act as a ‘lubricant’ ourselves. We see that there are many initiatives within our community, but that the synergy and unity of effort is often lacking. That is why we want to establish a Pink Embassy and put Amsterdam back on the map as International Rainbow Capital of the World.”

How they will do that, they have thought hard:

On how they will do that, he “As quartermasters, we will set up and staff a pink embassy in Amsterdam, and this representation will be the connecting factor between all organisations and businesses in the Rainbow domain. We target both visitors and residents of the city, but of course also pink companies and employees. So along the lines of Visit, Work and Live, we really want to make a difference for our community. We have set ourselves the goal of bringing all efforts to a climax in the anniversary year 2025, when Amsterdam celebrates its 750th anniversary.” “During the jubilee year 2025, all efforts will culminate and Amsterdam will be the Rainbow centre of the world. For one year, from October 2024 to October 2025, there will be a grand opening celebration, the EuroPride, Gay or Eurogames, the prestigious Bingham Cup, a circus and an immeasurable list of other sub-events. There will also be a focus on art, music, dance and dance, theatre, film and sport. We must dare to think big, because the target group is very diverse and emphatically more than just the partygoer. “bben they thought hard:

How do you proceed?

Robbert: “We are working towards it step by step: In 2021, plans will be discussed and coordinated with all relevant organisations, companies and parties and we will set up our partnerships. For example, we already participate intensively in discussions around Amsterdam’s visitor economy and our plans are now also part of the Approach to the Inner City which was recently published.” Moreover, the men are actively contributing to the creation of the new Pride policy and making recommendations on the topic of Safety & Discrimination. There is a world to be gained there too, according to both men. “How great would it be if we also managed to significantly reduce (street) harassment and violence against our community in the anniversary year?” says Eward.

You mentioned earlier opening a pink embassy as a point of contact within the community. What exactly does this entail?

Eward: “We will start by setting up an easily accessible and physically accessible place, but we are also thinking of an online information point and counter function. There, we will of course map all initiatives, organisations, events and target groups. Then we’ll see what common denominators there are and what things we can streamline or better highlight.” Robbert adds: We think it’s important to start colouring in the pictures later together with all relevant parties and to set out a timeline. Think for instance also of an overview of all Rainbow activities or events calendar in the city. Fortunately, we do not have to do this alone: We are supported by a long list of companies and institutions including Amsterdam – Divers & Inclusive, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, Amsterdam City and MKB Amsterdam. Politicians, both nationally and “in the Stopera”, have also now embraced our initiative. And of course it doesn’t stop after 2025…. We really want to leave something to the city and its LGBT+ residents and visitors.”

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