Memories

  • I cried when it was over
    Aubert van Engelen (photo middle) was not directly involved in organising Gay Games Amsterdam 1998, but he has a great story. At the time, he worked at IDTV, which organised the opening and closing ceremonies in the Arena and the parties on Dam Square. Aubert occasionally attended the creative team’s brainstorming sessions, but he also… Continue reading I cried when it was over
  • Harvey Fierstein on tour with Bob and Betty
    The photos hang framed on the wall of singer Wilma Bakker at home. In the summer of 1998 she performed as Betty in the show ‘Bob and Betty’ during the Gay Games boat tours of Holland International. The photos show that several celebrities were there, including Harvey Fierstein. Holland International was of course interested in… Continue reading Harvey Fierstein on tour with Bob and Betty
  • We have raised the percentage of women considerably!
    ‘Each team had a yellow ball with a logo, mine has become hard but I cherish it. I was the organiser of the football for Gay Games Amsterdam 1998,’ says Riet Willems. ‘It was not always easy working together, but I carried on because I am a sportsman and football is close to my heart.… Continue reading We have raised the percentage of women considerably!
  • A world-class lady
    During the preparations of the Gay Games, e-mail and internet were not yet commonplace. The communication was mainly on paper: there was a magazine in English called Friendship that participants could subscribe to and a magazine for volunteers called Inzet. The editorial board consisted – how could it be otherwise – of volunteers. Coen Bosselaar,… Continue reading A world-class lady
  • Dare to be different
    KLM was one of the major sponsors of Gay Games Amsterdam 1998, notable for not being at the forefront of gay rights. Everyone who was there at the time remembers the postcards with swans and lots of blue. How they came about is explained by Hugo Lingeman, at the time ‘internet chief’ as he himself… Continue reading Dare to be different
  • The ticking of those balls
    She was the coordinator of Squash, Judith van Cleeff (photo, with co-ordinator tape). Not that it was a big deal for her, but someone had to do it. Together with colleague Sjak de Jong, she organised the four-day squash tournament with about 230 participants in the old Frans Otten Stadium. Judith: ‘I had played squash… Continue reading The ticking of those balls
  • Including women
    Niek van der Spek, Director of Operations at the time, had the task of making sure that Gay Games Amsterdam would also show its ‘female face’: ‘The word gay was and is quickly associated with gay men and in Amsterdam we wanted the Gay Games to be a mixed (m/f) event with many lesbians participating… Continue reading Including women
  • Bidbook
    A delegation of twelve people managed to bring the Gay Games to the Netherlands in 1993. In Washington, Amsterdam beat the favourite candidate cities Sydney and Atlanta. Marjo Meijer was the first chairwoman of the board of Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 and was a member of the delegation. Crucial was the Bidbook, containing the plans… Continue reading Bidbook
  • Tears at the Choir Festival
    One of the four festivals of the culture programme of Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 was the choir festival in which around 100 choirs participated. Highlight was a sold-out gala on August 7 in the Concertgebouw. The gala ended with the hymn ‘The Rhythm of the Rainbow’ by Alan Belk and Daniel Cohen, which was composed… Continue reading Tears at the Choir Festival
  • The final skiff
    ‘That whole week was incredible. The weather, the atmosphere in the city, being in the majority – these are things that probably everyone says. It was unprecedented and has never come back. At the opening, a lot of people were waiting outside, but it was all so peaceful, so convivial. I have never seen Amsterdam… Continue reading The final skiff
  • Bidbook
    In 1993, Marjo Meijer was the first chairperson of the board of Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 and one of the 12 people in Washington who made sure that not (great odds-on) Sydney or Atlanta, but (great unknown) Amsterdam could organise the Gay Games in 1998. Crucial was the Bid Book. Marjo: ‘Our initiative group consisted… Continue reading Bidbook
  • The volunteers
    The Games had hardly ended when news arrived that Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 had won the 1998 Piet Kranenberg Amsterdam Tourism Award. The 3000 volunteers that is. A report on the ceremony read: ‘This event could not have taken place without the selfless commitment of all those thousands of volunteers. The Gay Games were the… Continue reading The volunteers
  • It’s Raining Men!
    Among the highlights of the Opening and Closing Ceremony of Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 were the performances by The Weather Girls. They sang their classic It’s Raining Men accompanied by a group of dancing and stripping sailors. Coen Mobach was one of them and shares his memory A hot mating dance ‘As someone who had… Continue reading It’s Raining Men!
  • It’s not only sports
    From the beginning, Tom Bijlmer was involved in the initiative group of the Gay Games and later he was in the sports group. Together with Hein Jan Lapidaire and Ellen Soeters, he organised the 1998 Gay Games Amsterdam tennis tournament. Gap between lesbian women and gay men Tom: ‘For the 1994 Gay Games in New… Continue reading It’s not only sports
  • Through the Gay Games I felt a little… satisfaction
    Gé Joosten was one of the 3,000 volunteers of Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 for two years. ‘When the preparations were already going on, in 1997, I heard about the Gay Games. I am rather easy-going, so I went to see the office and I liked the atmosphere.’ Gé helped out in the press team and… Continue reading Through the Gay Games I felt a little… satisfaction
  • LGBTI+ people from Ukraine
    Andriy Maymulakhin is founder and coordinator of Nash Mir (Our World), an important lgbti+ organisation in Kiev, and he was one of the two participants from Ukraine in Gay Games Amsterdam 1998. It was still almost impossible for them, citizens of the former Soviet Union, to go to such celebrations. But Gay Games Amsterdam had… Continue reading LGBTI+ people from Ukraine
  • Inspired by the opening ceremony
    In November 2023, Hong Kong will host Gay Games 11. A Dutchman who has been living and working in Hong Kong for 12 years, Dennis Philipse, ensured that the global lgbti+ event will be organised in Asia for the first time. Why did he take this initiative? Everyone is equal in sport ‘In 1998, I… Continue reading Inspired by the opening ceremony

until 1 August 2023, exactly 25 years after the start of the Gay Games Amsterdam 1998