Meet the Amsterdam Lowlanders: the only rugby club in the Netherlands organised by, though not exclusive to, gay men.
These boys have aired their dismay at Dutch royalty attending the Sochi Winter Olympics, having provided The Huffington Post with an exclusive first look inside their 2014 promotional calendar last year.
Filled with nude images of the players, funds raised through the sale of the calendar will enable the team to participate in the seventh edition of Bingham Cup, the world gay rugby tournament, in August 2014. Check out a behind the scenes video showcasing the making of the calendar above.
"What started off small is now a thriving Rugby Union team with a firm position within our home at the Amstelveense Rugby Club," the group notes in the calendar. "Besides the Netherlands, the nationalities present in the team include Lebanon, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Italy, US, UK, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, Greece, Argentina, Romania, Spain and China."
Benjamin engages Elio in an attempt to seize the ball. Amsterdam, which has the largest intact 17th century city center in the world, is built on wooden pillars erected in swampy soil. By now, virtually no building in this UNESCO World Heritage Site stands straight. The wooden bridge and the houseboat are also very much Amsterdam.
In 1637 the Dutch tulip mania resulted in the collapse of the first recorded economic bubble in history. Nowadays, tulips from Holland grace homes all over the world. Here you see ruggers George, Elio, Benjamin, Jan, Frans and Anco (left to right) forming the front row of a scrum in a tulip field in Lisse, close to the famous Keukenhof.
You know the story of Hansje Brinker putting his finger in a leaking dike? With most of Holland being below sea level, dikes are incredibly important for water security. But they have also served as defense mechanisms by using strategic flooding to impede an advancing enemy. Smart, huh? Here you see Spanish giant and breakthrough specialist Alex and Belgian monster Davey on the Nieuwendammerdijk in the North of Amsterdam, a picturesque part of the city with wooden houses.
After a rugby match a “tunnel” is formed out of respect for the opponent. The Homo Monument is the first in the world and the Netherlands was the first country to introduce marriage equality in 2001. Behind the monument is the church Westerkerk, from which a huge rainbow flag hangs during Gay Pride. Close to Westerkerk the Lowlanders watch the Canal Parade on the Saturday of Gay Pride, every first weekend of August.
September for us marks the beginning of the Dutch competition season, in which we play as members of ARC. From left to right you see Sebastian, David, coach Remo, Pablo, Joris and Marius warming up on the deck of the Leonardo in the port of Amsterdam. Dutch ships have roamed the seas for centuries. Nowadays with the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Holland is still a prominent international hub connecting Europe to the world.
Kicking genius and Dutch Premier Division player Nenad kicks off the new year. This picture is taken in front of Spijkerbar, one of our loyal sponsors, in Kerkstraat. From the 60’s to the 80’s this street was the epicenter of Amsterdam gay nightlife, and as such is part of international gay history.