Stockholm Pride may be unusual among European pride events in that it consists of much more than just a parade on one Saturday afternoon. It is instead spread over a whole week, and the whole city takes part in one way or another. Even the city buses are decked out with rainbow flags.

I happened to be in Stockholm visiting friends during 2014’s Pride Week (28th July to 2nd August 2014), and so was keen to see how the city celebrates diversity of all kinds.

Stockholm’s Kulturhuset was transformed into the Pride House and became the main focal points of the week’s events. There were exhibitions, lectures and workshops going on all week, and on all kinds of topics with everything from introduction to anal fisting to representation of LGBT peoples among the Sami community.

The Pride House is also one of the best places to buy tickets, which are unfortunately required for many events going on during Pride Week. And this being Sweden, they are not cheap. A pass for the whole week costs 800 SEK (US$117/€87/£70) and grants access to all events at the Pride House as well as the Pride Park.

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The Pride Park moves around each year, but this year was in a sports stadium in Östermalm. On the opening night of the park (Wednesday 30th July), there was a concert consisting of gay anthems from the 70s right up to the present, culminating in a performance from the wonderful Conchita Wurst.

In the park, there were also stands from various political parties, LGBTQI groups, sponsoring companies and even the Church of Sweden, all offering some small, free gifts. My partner somehow managed to get roped into a competition to win a sex toy if he could apply three condoms to three dildos in under twenty seconds! Unfortunately, he could not.

Right beside the Pride Park was also a smaller, much more subdued park for young people, age 13 to 29. I’m 28 and I wasn’t asked for ID proving my age to enter, and entry is free. There is less going on, and there are no performances, but it felt nice to have a non-threatening space for young LGBT people.

All that was left then was the parade. And what a joyful experience it was! The streets were full of people, though it didn’t feel crowded and there was enough space to comfortably watch the parade go by.

There was a sense of fun and playfulness as the parade started, but also respect and gratefulness. On more than one occasion, I found myself almost moved to tears, particularly when seeing the Proud Parents of LGBT Children march, and hear how much everyone cheered for them.

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With a reputation for being among the most open and accepting cities in Europe (or at least that’s my stereotype!), I felt very lucky to be in Stockholm at this time to participate in this massive celebration of love, diversity and support.

If you’re planning a trip to Stockholm in the summer next year, keep the Pride Week in mind and go see what I mean!