In Amsterdam there is a gay and lesbian info point for tourists, which sits just outside the lovely Westerkerk church.
The Westerkerk church was built in the early 1600's and Rembrandt is said to be buried somewhere in the church itself. Right near the Westerkek Church is a Homomonument, a monument for the gays and lesbians subjected to persecution because of their sexuality. At another church I visited, The Oude Kerk, founded around 1213 (yep, you read right!) not only was Rembrandt's wife Saskia van Uylenburgh buried there, but they had a photography exhibition, the Pride photo Award winners! I doubted I would have seen anything like this back at home.
A few of the Pride Photo Award winners:
This one was titled 'Next time hit harder, I am still gay':
What a beautiful venue for the photographs, and to think here in Australia we still have church groups protesting against homosexuality!
Some bits and pieces laying about... 1756? umm That's before Captain Cook landed in Australia isn't it?
The floor of the church:
More of Oude Kerk:
The next photograph I have called 'Sunflowers: Amsterdam #199':
Oude Kerk has a cafe inside:
'Flowers in Oude Kerk':
I must also share that as I was heading towards this Oude Kerk, I heard a 'tap tap tap' on a window. It was around 10.30-11am and this woman beckoned me over. I figured, given I was a tourist, she must have been motioning someone else.... but then it happened a few more times by other women, who were standing behind glass doors and tapping the glass to get my attention... Ohhh I realised, I must be in the red light district!! Apparently Oude Kerk is right in the midst of the red light district and it operates 24 hours a day!
All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013