Saturday, August 1, 1998 Published at 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Turning the stadium pink
Thousands watched the Gay Games parade of boats
It is expected to attract some 200,000 visitors over the next week, who are expected to spend $75m.
The city whose name is synonymous with extravagance and tolerance lived up to its reputation as it became the venue for 15,000 gay competitors to paint the town pink and welcome the fifth gay games to Amsterdam.
Revelers clad in everything from wedding veils to leather G-strings danced and sang on hundreds of multi-colored boats sliding through the canals.
Their latest landmark was the legalisation this year of civil marriage by lawmakers now leaning toward granting homosexuals the right to adopt children.
The games even have their own alternative events.
Gold medals will be handed out for such "sports" as handbag-throwing, oil-wrestling and the 200m dash in high heels.
The Amsterdam Gay Games are the first to be held in Europe.
They were last held in New York in 1994.
Sydney, the site of the Summer Olympics in 2000, will have the first southern hemisphere Gay Games in 2002.