Welcome by the Mayor’s Office

De Wever & Duchateau © Marcel Lennartz

© Marcel Lennartz

Welcome to the 11th edition of Antwerp Pride. This successful and inspiring multiday event has gained itself quite a reputation in Flanders and well beyond. Antwerp Pride can build on an impeccable and professional organisation, as well as hundreds of relentless volunteers.

Harbour city Antwerp set the pace for sexual liberation decades ago. Women and men with a different love life and sexual orientation were able to explore their- often hard won – identity freely in our city.
Antwerp Pride builds on this breeding ground for the eleventh year in a row and has contributed considerably to the fact that people who do not necessarily fit into a traditional gender pattern are able to feel at home in Antwerp. Whether that is at work, on the housing market, or in the cultural or party scene. However, we shouldn’t be dazzled by pride and joy because of this welcome (r)evolution. Sexual freedom and unhindered identity exploration are not always a well acquired right. Socio-cultural and religious beliefs all too often interfere with the idea of an open society, especially when people feel that they will never fit into a traditional m/f dichotomy.

Besides sheer pleasure, this eleventh edition of Antwerp Pride also draws attention to the vulnerability of thousands of people who – even in this twenty-first century – are still looking and fighting to be who they want to be deep down.

Let the Antwerp Pride 2018 edition again be the celebration of diversity, freedom and respect for others in our vibrant city by the river Scheldt.

Enjoy all the beauty Antwerp has to offer.

Bart De Wever,
Mayor of Antwerp

Fons Duchateau,
Alderman for O.C.M.W., Social Affairs, Housing, Diversity
and Citizenship, Society Building