Summer Carnival Rotterdam

Summer Carnival Rotterdam

Jul 29, 2022Jul 30, 2022
Various locations

The Summer Carnival is the largest Caribbean street party in the Netherlands with more than 2.500 dancers, 25 carnival groups and 30 floats. An offshoot of the carnival in the Caribbean, this colourful procession sparks with the spirit of diversity in Rotterdam. Thousands of visitors come to admire the dazzling floats, the extravagant costumes and the catchy rhythms.

Come and party Caribbean-style in the streets of multi-cultural Rotterdam at the 2022 Summer Carnival!

Three main highlights of Summer Carnival

The prime unmissable highlights of Summer Carnival Rotterdam are:

Battle of the Drums

Kicking off the Summer Carnival is the Battle of the Drums, which sees the streets surrounding the Hofplein filled with brass bands in a marching tour competing for the prestigious Golden Drum.

Three ambitious Caribbean brass bands start from different points in the city and make their way towards the stage on the Hofplein to get the entire city of Rotterdam hyped up for the Summer Carnival! The best brass band will win the Golden Drum 2022.

Mercado: Summer Carnival Street Market

Refuel in between partying and watching performances at the Mercado, where a buzzing Festival Market sells traditional dishes and drinks such as Surinamese seasoned chicken from the barbecue, Antillean sateh ku batata, tropical crushed ice and much more. The Market doesn’t just sell food: check out the great merchandise like fashionable bags, accessories, fancy gadgets and vintage clothing!

Summer Carnival Street Parade

The highlight of Summer Carnival is undoubtedly the street parade. With 30 floats, thousands of dancers, elaborate costumes, dances and hundreds of thousands of fellow revellers, the streets of Rotterdam are livelier during Summer Carnival than any other time of year! Later in the evening, the celebration continues with bands at the Hofplein. 

Origins of Summer Carnival in Rotterdam

Taking place since 1984, the Summer Carnival Rotterdam zeroes in on the multicultural make-up of the city to activate the cherished Caribbean and Latin American tradition.

Unlike their counterparts across the Atlantic, the pre-Lent Carnivals in Northern Europe, unfortunately, take place at too cold a time to imitate this sort of celebration. Instead of missing out on this tradition, the organisers in Rotterdam simply decided to change the date while leaving the celebration unchanged.

With thousands of costumed dancers, massive floats, brass bands, drummers and its very own elected Queen, the street parade and side events are now among the most popular events in the city. The Summer Carnival Rotterdam now takes place over the course of two days as part of the larger festival, Rotterdam Unlimited, which is the biggest free street festival in Europe.