Carnival Celebrations 2014Festivals / Other
March 01-04, Various
Get to the provinces of North Brabant and Limburg to witness the spectacle that is Dutch Carnival!
What is Carnival?
Originally a pagan holiday, the Christian Church assimilated the feast into their calendar to mark the three days leading up to Ash Wednesday that signal the beginning of Lent and the fasting period.
Historically celebrated throughout the Netherlands, Carnival has witnessed a resurgence in the predominantly Catholic provinces of North Brabant and Limburg since World War II.
Blending Dutch traditions with Italian, French and German elements, Carnival in the Netherlands entails a reversal of social norms where revellers wear costumes, the cities temporarily change their names, a Prince of Carnival is chosen and daily life is put on hold to party!
The highlight of the Carnival festivities is the parade, in which a tour of large floats organised by local carnival associations pokes fun at established authorities and/or social conventions.
Photo by Flickr user inyucho
Photo by Flickr user Jeroen Moes.
Where to Celebrate Carnival
Visit these cities to get a taste of Dutch Carnival!
Click on the associated Carnival name for more information.
› Maastricht | Meestrecht
- Where: Around the Vrijthof square.
- What: The largest of the Carnival celebrations, the official festivities begin on March 2 when the Prince's Guard presents himself to the Prince of Carnival, 11 shots are fired and the main parade begins. Celebrations continue until March 4 at 11.55pm.
› Den Bosch | Oeteldonk
- Where: From the central train station toward the historic inner-city around the Markt.
- What: The youth carnival and celebrations begin on March 1 with the main parade taking place on March 3. The celebration comes to an end on March 4 with the burying of Knillis, a giant icon of the alleged founder of Oeteldonk.
› Breda | Kielegat
- Where: In and around the Grote Markt.
- What: The symbolic key is handed to the Prince of Carnival on March 1 on the Grote Markt, the children's parade is on March 2, the featured parade takes place on March 3 and the celebration ends with the symbolic burning of Kiske and Mieske.
› Tilburg | Kruikenstad
- Where: The area just south of the train station down to Stadhuisstraat.
- What: On March 1 the Prince of Carnival is picked up from the train station to officially open the ceremony. The main parade takes place on March 2, orchestras are featured on March 3 and the ceremony closes on March 4.
› Eindhoven | Lampegat
- Where: In the city centre surrounding the Vestdijk.
- What: Kicking off with the featured parade on March 1, the Lampegat celebrations continue until March 4 with a variety of street parties and live music taking place in cafes and pubs throughout the city.