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COC Nederland (The Netherlands)

Last modified: 2018-12-15 by rob raeside
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[COC Nederland flag] image by Ivan Sache, 4 August 2018

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COC Nederland flag

COC Netherlands has been advocating the rights of lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) from 1946 on. COC strives for the decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity and for equal rights, emancipation and social acceptance of LGBT’s in the Netherlands and all over the world. COC is one of the few LGBT organizations that has a special consultative status with the United Nations.
"COC" refers to the original name of the organization, Cultuur en Ontspanningscentrum (Center for Culture and Leisure). COC website

The flag of COC Nederland is white with the organization's emblem.
Ivan Sache, 4 August 2018

The original name of the first organization in Amsterdam was the Shakespeare Club. In 1947 a second chapter was founded in The Hague as Louis Couperus Vereeniging (after the famous Dutch/The Hague writer and dandy). Two years later the name for the whole organization became Cultuur- en Ontspanningscentrum (note: there is a - after Cultuur) as a pseudonym. Calling it a homosexual organization was impossible. The abbreviation was C.O.C. (with dots).

In 1973 the C.O.C. finally got its royal recognition for the statutes to become a full legal person. Until then for instance it was impossible to own property. The dots dissapeared and the new name became Nederlandse Vereniging tot Integratie van Homoseksualiteit COC (abbreviation: N.V.I.H. COC / in English: Netherlands Association for the Integration of Homosexuality COC).

During the 1990s a procedure was started to turn the local chapters into full associations. Until then for opening a bank account, renting a meeting space or any legally binding contract, they needed signatures from the board of the national COC. In July 2000 the general assembly finally approved the statutes of the national COC and the 26 local/regional associations. To mark the occasion each local COC was presented with the COC flag to underline the unity within the new federation. Unfortunately the flags were not ready at that point and had to be sent by mail a few weeks later.

N.V.I.H. COC became: Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen voor de Integratie van Homoseksualiteit COC Nederland (abbreviation COC Nederland / in English. Federation of Netherlands Associations for the Integration of Homosexuality COC Netherlands).

The local associations each became a Nederlandse Vereniging voor de Integratie van Homoseksualiteit COC[city/region] (abbreviation: COC [city/region] / in English: Netherlands Association for the Integration of Homosexuality COC [city/region]).

The COC-members (persons) became members of the association in their region. The local associations became members of COC Netherlands. This meant that COC Netherlands only had 26 (now 22) members.

The current COC emblem was introduced somewhere around 1995.

Maxim van Ooijen, 5 August 2018