‘It is nice to do something together with other gay men – in the back of my mind I hoped that there would be a nice type for me. But I met my partner somewhere else.’
Gay Games Amsterdam 1998
‘We were a bit disappointed that we had to go to Amersfoort for the swimming. We could not go in Amsterdam because the Sloterparkbad was being renovated. Amersfoort did not have a very good ring to it, because during a Pink Saturday demonstrators were beaten up and pelted with stones. But we did not experience anything negative there. We just swam there. I remember that the Americans won all the medals because they had sent a lot of swimmers. The US was really a swimming country with very tough boys.’
Former politician Bob van Schijndel played an important role in lgbti+ emancipation in the 1980s and 1990s. He was the first gay activist in national politics, founded the Rooie Flikkers (Red Queers), was a driving force behind the gay monument, worked for the Schorer Foundation and the COC and founded Gay Swim Amsterdam (GSA) in 1997.
He was the first person in the Netherlands to hear live on the NOS News (the national Dutch broadcaster) that Amsterdam had been chosen to host the Gay Games in 1998: ‘We were all so happy!’
Cover photo: Bob van Schijndel in Berlin 1996. Photo: Marian Bakker
until 1 August 2023, exactly 25 years after the start of the Gay Games Amsterdam 1998