The Kwaku Summer Festival is celebrated every year at the Nelson Mandela Park (formerly Bijlmerpark). It celebrates the end of slavery in the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname, following a state declaration in 1863. The celebrations are held every weekend during the months of July and August.
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And if you are attending for the first time, and don’t really know your way around, companies such as Taxi Amsterdam 24 provide great chauffeured services for families, VIPs, couples, and travellers seeking tailored options. That said, food, drinks and football are a major part of the Kwaku Summer Festival. The event is characterized by a huge number of food stalls featuring typical Surinamese, Antillean, African and Caribbean delicacies, which range from juicy ribs dripping in exotic Surinamese sauce, to spicy tacos that will make your tongue tingle.
The festival started in the 1970s as a football tournament in Zuidoost, Amsterdam. Visitors were mainly residents, giving it a multicultural element right from the start. Over the years, the festival has developed into one of the largest events in the Netherlands attracting almost 1 million visitors.
The Multicultural Experience
Fifty percent of attendees come from Amsterdam and its environs, and the other half from all over the Netherlands. Revellers mainly come from minority groups with a strong Surinamese, Antillean and African descent. In recent years, however, an ever-growing number of visitors from other cultures, and the Dutch people has joined in.
During Kwaku Summer Festival, the annual football tournament, the Kwaku Cup, occupies an important place in the program. Anyone can put together a team and sign up. Who knows, you may get your hands on the cup by the end of the tournament.
On Sunday 27 July, 2008, the Pink Sunday was organized for the first time during the Kwaku Summer Festival, as an initiative of the Surinamese LGBT activist, Mikel Haman. The celebration has grown over the past 3 years into the largest black gay event in Europe. With around 20,000 visitors, it is one of the most extravagant days of the festival, and especially attracts black members of the LGBTQ community – heterosexuals, lesbians, and transgender. Dancing and music performances abound.