(Edit: this is information for 2011, for information about gay pride 2012... click here!) Just around the corner (August 1st-7th) we have Stockholm's largest festival and Scandinavia's largest gay pride festival... Stockholm Pride! It is a week long festival culminating in a huge parade through the city on Saturday, August 6th. If you are not a member of the LGBT community, you don't have to feel left out- the festival is open for everyone. In fact, that is the theme for this year's festival: openness. In past years the festival has been held in parks on the outskirts of the city, but this year it will be smack dab in the middle of Stockholm at Kungsträdgården park and Sergelstorg square. Another change this year, in accordance with the theme, is that entrance to the festival area will be free of charge! There will be music, performances and events going on all week in the festival area as well as plenty of food & drink. Some highlights are the opening ceremony on Monday, family night on Tuesday, Eurovision(Schlager) night on Thursday and the post parade party on Saturday. You will find the full program here! The parade on Saturday is a huge event in Stockholm... past years have seen over 50,000 participants with about half a million spectators lining the parade route. This year the parade will be starting at 1pm on the island of Södermalm at Tantolunden. The parade will then make its way down the street Hornsgatan, past the Rival Hotel, through the Old Town into the downtown area. It is expected to reach Sergels Torg at about 3pm. Besides the official festival parties, there will be plenty of parties and events going on at other venues and nightclubs throughout the city. If you are staying at the hotel, come talk to me if you are interested in more information about the different parties. Otherwise more information can be found at information booths in the festival area.
Phot by Yanan Li, Stockholm Visitors Board
If you are visiting Stockholm this coming week and gay pride isn't your cup of tea, then there a few things you should be aware of. Generally, Swedes have a liberal view when it comes to sexuality and the LGBT community here has equal rights on a broad front, including marriage. In fact, in a recent international survey called Metropolitan Report, Stockholm rated as the second most gay-friendly city in the world after Amsterdam. After the recent horrific events in Norway by a right-wing extremist, I believe this year's festival will be seen by many (regardless of sexuality) as an important political manifestation. Otherwise, as a visitor, you will probably just notice an increase of happy people and rainbow flags in the city. Be also aware that the parade on Saturday will cause some traffic problems if you are traveling by car or bus in the city. Click here, here and/or here for more information about LGBT Stockholm.