Memories

  • The banned tournament
    At the last minute, the International Skating Union (ISU) banned its members from participating in the figure skating tournament during Gay Games Amsterdam 1998. Skaters from all over the world in their most colourful skating outfits were desperate with grief. The camera crews present from NOS, RTL, Hart van Nederland and AT5 filmed the crying… Continue reading The banned tournament
  • I had a dream
    While on sick leave due to knee problems, Lucie Gunsing volunteered for the Gay Games in the registration department At the same time, she was trying to get pregnant through an insemination process. After a year, she had to find replacement work because of the Poortwachter Act (Gatekeeper Act). Fortunately, she was able to turn… Continue reading I had a dream
  • We cannot let this run, we have to participate!
    For Lydia la Rivière-Zijdel, the highlight of Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 was when she drove her wheelchair into the Amsterdam ArenA: ‘I immediately feel the emotion again. This was a triumph of so many things at once. As for myself that we were in front with so many people with disabilities. That we got it… Continue reading We cannot let this run, we have to participate!
  • 24 memories of when we were young
    Working on this reminiscence site is so much fun because it is a great feast of recognition. For example, I enjoy the photos Marian Bakker digs up and shares from her archive every time. She followed the 1998 preparations for so many years. Her photos form a time capsule in black and white. By: Paul… Continue reading 24 memories of when we were young
  • I think back with nostalgia
    Photographer and filmmaker Louise Verbree was approached by Marian Bakker asking if she wanted to submit photos for the exhibition Lesbian ConneXion/s, which was to be shown during Gay Games Amsterdam 1998. She was just living in Nijmegen at the time and was involved in organising exhibitions through ‘Villa Lila’ – the local pink house.… Continue reading I think back with nostalgia
  • Being part of that was an unforgettable experience for me
    Dissonant was a large lesbian choir of about 30 women, led by conductor Anneke Veenhof, which took part in the Choir Festival during Gay Games Amsterdam 1998. The repertoire included music by KD Lang and Mathilde Santing, with as many of their own lyrics as possible. At the performance in the Concertgebouw, Josee Rothuizen was… Continue reading Being part of that was an unforgettable experience for me
  • 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

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