The Nimb Hotel lights up the Tivoli Gardens amusement park in central Copenhagen. The Tivoli contains rides, gardens, bars, restaurants and numerous performance venues. The worldwide Out Choir Festival, part of this summer’s World Outgames, will take place in the Tivoli’s Glass Concert Hall. The hall was destroyed by Nazi sympathizers during World War II and Credit: resurrected by renowned Danish modern architect Poul Henningsen in 1946.
Chefs busily prepare dinner in the open kitchen at the Nimb Hotel’s Restaurant Nimb, one of several restaurants and bars in the hotel. Copenhagen has become a destination city for fine food aficionados. Credit: resurrected by renowned Danish modern architect Poul Henningsen in 1946.
A chef at Restaurant Nimb shows off his equipment for a group of American gay travel professionals. Other noteworthy Copenhagen hotels include: The Square, conveniently located behind the city’s central Town Hall Square; Front, positioned near the harbour and Amalienborg Palace; the Arne Jacobsen-designed Radisson SAS and Hotel Skt Petri, built in a modern Credit: structure designed in 1920 as a department store.
Gay deputy mayor Klaus Bondam posed outside Oscar Bar Café, a popular gay hangout steps from the city’s Town Hall Square. Bondam was instrumental in bringing the World Outgames to Copenhagen. The games, which will include a cultural festival and human rights conference, are set to take over the city from Jul 25 until Aug 2. Check out our Copenhagen feature, Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
The Black Diamond, as the Royal Library is known, is one of Copenhagen’s many newer iconic buildings, which include a playhouse (pictured on the next slide), an opera house and a concert hall. Older structures are equally impressive; the Tivoli Concert Hall, a mid-century modern masterpiece, was recently renovated by architecture firm 3XN. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
The new Royal Danish Playhouse was still being completed last summer. It sits across the water from the new Opera House. Architect Jean Nouvel’s new concert hall, which opened earlier this year to rave reviews, will host the human rights conference at the World Outgames this summer. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
A string of museums and galleries line a lengthy stretch of pedestrian boardwalk. A full-size replica of Michelangelo’s David stands in front of Vestindisk Pakhus, home of the Royal Danish cast collection, which houses thousands of plaster casts dating back to antiquity. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
Across the Oresund Straight from Copenhagen, the Swedish city of Malmö is a quick trip. In the distance, you can just make out the Orseund Link, an 8km bridge connecting the two cities by road and rail. Trains generally run every 20 minutes. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
Malmö features lots of funky new architecture. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s famous Turning Torso apartment tower twists in the background. In the foreground, a stylish greenhouse provides year-round al fresco seating at a local café. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
Malmö’s 13th century centre provides a contrast to its newfangled skyline. A lesbian couple and their daughter walked through a public square in the historic old town, a key marketplace of the medieval Hanseatic League. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
Matilda Sjödell runs Café Banjo, which she described as a hetero-friendly place. The café is a hub for queer activities in Malmö; posters on its bulletin board listed upcoming Pride events, a regular queer open mic night and a men’s fuck buddy campaign. Café Banjo is at Falsterbogatan 22, Malmö. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
Lucas Högberg heads the Malmö chapter of RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights. RFSL, formed in 1950, is one of the world’s oldest gay organizations. Bucking the stereotype of the earnest activist, Högberg designed this delightfully foofy room at Café Banjo. Credit: including interviews with Bondam and Outgames staff.
Café Banjo is located next to a large amusement park, which provides a mixed clientele. “Every now and then you’ll see an eyebrow go up,” said Sjödell, “but then people meet and mix.” She can recall only a couple of bad incidents. One man objected to a lesbian couple kissing, but later returned to the café to apologize. “If ever I doubted that people had Credit: good hearts,” said Sjödell, “this is the place that made me realize it.”
Sun-worshipping Swedes catch the rays by the sea in Malmö. Credit: good hearts,” said Sjödell, “this is the place that made me realize it.”
Less than an hour from Malmo, the town of Ystad sits on Sweden’s sandy southern coast. The surrounding countryside is home to small, organic farms and businesses like Olof Viktors, a bakery and restaurant that patronizes the local farms. The sun-drenched gardens of the restaurant are the perfect spot for a lazy summer afternoon. Credit: Olof Viktors is at Österlenvägen 86, Glemminge.
At Olof Viktors, I was told that everything on this plate had come from around the corner. Tomatoes and rhubarb are grown in the next field. The chickens are raised 4km away. It takes 12 hours to make the bread, which is prepared with local flour according to a 200 year-old tradition. Credit: Olof Viktors is at Österlenvägen 86, Glemminge.
Elisabeth Ahlqvist is an artist who runs Atelje Tuvegarden, one of numerous country studios set up by artists and artisans, gay and straight, who are attracted to the rolling hills of the countryside near Ystad. Credit: Olof Viktors is at Österlenvägen 86, Glemminge.
A gay champagne bar in the middle of the woods? It’s not a mirage, it’s Kom I Luckan (which translates as Come into the Fold), a kiosk-style bar and restaurant with a large outdoor seating area on the outskirts of Ystad. Kom I Luckan is at Saltsjöbadsvägen 13, Ystad. Credit: Olof Viktors is at Österlenvägen 86, Glemminge.
Friendly and flamboyant co-owners Joakim Bengtsson and Lolo Mårtensson poured libations. This might be the country, but drinks are served in fancy crystal glasses. Traditional wooden summer houses are nestled in the surrounding forest while the spa hotel Ystad Saltsjöbad is perched on the nearby beach. Credit: Olof Viktors is at Österlenvägen 86, Glemminge.
RFSL’s Lucas Högberg and Kom I Luckan co-owner Lolo Mårtensson get cozy. Copenhagen and Scania resources links: Wonderful Copenhagen gay info; Visit Denmark gay info; Malmo Tourism; Scania Tourism; Fieldwood Travel welcomes gay visitors to Scania; RFSL, Swedish gay activist group. Credit: Olof Viktors is at Österlenvägen 86, Glemminge.
Stockholm is an ideal city for a Pride celebration. With lots of urban parkland, the city easily accommodates large outdoor events in beautiful settings. Pride kicked off with a party in Skansen, a 75-acre open-air museum and zoo. Another city park becomes Pride Park each year, hosting a week of outdoor performances and dance parties, its role culminating as Credit: the final destination of the annual Pride parade.
A rare day of continuous rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Pride parade marchers, 50,000 of whom danced the lengthy five kilometre route, cheered on by half a million onlookers. Stockholm’s route, which commands the major thoroughfares of the city’s commercial, historic and alternative hubs, is more than twice as long as Vancouver’s route, Credit: & about thrice that of Toronto and Ottawa.This year's Pride is Jul 27-Aug 2.
Giant rainbow flags flew high above Stockholm for the duration of Pride. Even the trams were outfitted with rainbows as the whole city got in on the celebrations. The festival’s theme was Swedish Sin. “It’s a concept that came from the soft-core porn industry in the late ’60s, early ’70s, when Sweden was producing a lot of soft-core,” Credit: explained Stockholm Pride’s Jonah Nylund.
Stockholm boasts a range of large and prestigious museums, many of which were eager to celebrate Pride. “We have 13 museums doing some kind of queer stuff during the festival,” said Stockholm Pride president Jonah Nylund. “It’s just nuts.” The Police Museum exhibited confiscated gay porn from the early 1900s. The History Museum presented Odin — A Drag God, Credit: tracing genderbending throughout time.
The historic and grand department store Nordiska Kompaniet devoted all of its gigantic windows to Pride displays. Passersby craned to watch video loops of gay and lesbian couples kissing and making out. Credit: tracing genderbending throughout time.
A downtown shopping centre sported giant murals and banners and a Pride info and sales kiosk. Credit: tracing genderbending throughout time.
The Clarion Hotel Stockholm is a family-friendly hotel: they even have a Kiddie Check-in featuring a step-up platform so tiny tots can clamber up to the reception counter. But kids didn’t stop the hotel from displaying Ecce Homo, an exhibit of Elisabet Ohlson Wallins’ huge, explicit photos. The show marked the 10th anniversary of the original exhibit, Credit: which created controversy across Europe.
A military band marches daily during summer at 12:15pm, as part of the Changing of the Royal Guard. In the background, Berzelli Park is the verdant home of the gay-friendly hotspot Berns Salonger, a historic hotel and saloon built in 1863. The refurbished boutique hotel houses a grand concert hall and numerous restaurants and bars which host wild events Credit: during Pride and for visiting gay cruises.
Political party floats are a central presence in Stockholm’s Pride parade, owing to Swedes’ formidable sense of civic entitlement and political participation. Gay and lesbian youth from the Moderate Party advanced an emerging agenda of European solidarity with their theme, Breaking Borders. Credit: during Pride and for visiting gay cruises.
Another party’s slogan, A Europe For All, echoed the Breaking Borders sentiment: Gay rights for all European queers, with a particular focus on those in Eastern Europe. Credit: during Pride and for visiting gay cruises.
“It's important to really stick by them, because I think that having an event that size in Eastern Europe can really change things,” said Stockholm Pride president Jonah Nylund of recurring funding recipient, Warsaw Pride. “This time we gave them 5,000 euros to enable them to do a film festival the week before their parade. Credit: And last year it was Riga.
“We have a twinning program of Western European Prides, the established ones, helping out funding-wise, logistically, knowledge-wise, with the East” said Robert Kastl, executive director of the European Pride Organisers Association, which awards the EuroPride title to a different city each year. Credit: Warsaw will become the first Eastern European city to host the event in 2010.
Stockholmers make the most of their long summer days. Outdoor bars and cafés roar with vitality. In the parks and streets, the city’s impossibly radiant and fit citizens strip down to worship the sun, as the city is blessed with the clear weather we associate with the big skies of the prairies. Credit: Stockholm is built on 14 islands and water is visible almost everywhere
Officially, the sun sets around 10:30pm on the summer solstice, after more than 18 hours of sunshine. But the angle of the sun keeps the sky glowing each evening with a prolonged and ever-changing light show from dusk until around midnight, when this photo was taken from the bar at the Hilton Stockholm Slussen hotel. Credit: Stockholm is built on 14 islands and water is visible almost everywhere
Tobias Billström, Sweden’s minister of migration and asylum policy, was among a delegation of politicians attending Riga Pride, which has been banned by politicians and met with violence from protesters. In Riga, Billström met with Latvian ministers. “We discussed how they viewed their obligations, the presence of the police and how the government looked on Credit: the right to speak freely,” he said.
Wellwishers stay dry while cheering on Stockholm's Pride parade from apartment windows. Credit: the right to speak freely,” he said.
“It's like a workshop on the cunt and how everything works,” explained Stockholm Pride past-president, Sofia Sjöo, about the annual Pussy Oracle. Frank sexuality pervades the festival, said Sjöo (at left, with her girlfriend Amy Pomering at the popular gay bar Torget). Credit: The Massage Palace is a hands-on place for gay men.
Inside Stockholm’s city hall, the walls of the Golden Hall are covered with mosaics comprised of more than 18 million glass and gold tiles, designed by Einar Forseth. The Queen of Lake Mälaren, which covers the northern wall, shows how Swedes historically see their place in the world, as bridging the East and West. Credit: The Massage Palace is a hands-on place for gay men.
The bisexual Queen Christina ruled Sweden from 1632 until she abdicated the throne in 1654, fleeing to Italy disguised as a man and living under the assumed title Count Dohma. Love letters between Christina and Countess Ebbe “Belle” Sparre, one of her ladies-in-waiting, are said to confirm their lesbian relationship. In the 1933 film Queen Christina, Credit: Greta Garbo’s Christina wears men’s clothing and shares a brief kiss with Ebbe
When gay Indian prince Manvendra Singh Gohil publicly came out in 2006, his family disinherited him and citizens of the town of Rajpipla, where his father is the maharajah, burned him in effigy. Since then, he has earned respect in India as an educator around gay, AIDS and HIV issues. Gohil founded the Lakshya Trust to promote safer sex among India’s multi- Credit: faceted but largely hidden networks of homosexual men.
Gamla Stan, or Old Town, is Stockholm’s 13th century historic centre, precariously built atop precambrian granite islands that continue to rise above sea level since the last Ice Age. Stockholm is sometimes called Venice of the North, largely because of its waterways, but Gamla Stan is surprisingly reminiscent of the Santa Cruz barrio of Seville, Spain, with Credit: its mysterious narrow, winding cobblestone streets & sensually coloured buldings
Chokladkoppen is a popular gay café in Stortorget, the main square in Gamla Stan. Stockholm resources links: Stockholm Visitors Board gay info. Visit Sweden gay info. QX (Stockholm gay news and map). RFSL (Swedish queer activist group). Stockholm Pride. Credit: its mysterious narrow, winding cobblestone streets & sensually coloured buldings
Carl Milles was a world-famous sculptor during the first half of the 20th century. The Millesgarden in Stockholm is a spacious exhibition site devoted to his work, comprising expansive outdoor terraces and gardens plus galleries inside the sculptor’s former home. Although Milles was married to a woman, there has been much speculation that he was gay. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
The sculpture The Dancing Girls (1917) features two women writhing blissfully in an erotic dance. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
A naiad rides a dolphin. Milles created many sculptures of naiads and tritons, or mermaids and mermen. In his version, these creatures morph into fish not at the waist but at the legs, giving them two spreadable tails and preserving their human buttocks and genitals. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
Triton's two fish tails diverge below his butt. This sculpture recalls the Greek figure of Triton, son of Poseidon, who blew through a conch shell to control the sea. In Milles’ version, a young Triton uses the shell to squirt water all over himself. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
A naiad sits atop a fountain. On the bowl in the foreground, two tritons, locked in a passionate embrace, make the beast with two backs (and four tails). Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
A young maiden enjoys her breasts amidst vines of ripe grapes. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
An indoor gallery at the Millesgarden. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
A farmer seeds the fields. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
The Hand of God, one of the most famous Milles sculptures, is reproduced in Tokyo, Beijing, Melbourne and other sites around the world. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.
Giant sculptures are carefully balanced atop columns on a terrace overlooking the water. Credit: His work is highly erotic, particularly for the era.