You may be more or less accustomed with the notion of “carnival” in the Netherlands, and even less if you live North of the rivers, but one of the first things to know about the Carnival in the Netherlands is that it is a time when people get to behave outside the usual social norms. There are two kinds of carnival in this country: the Thenish Carnival and the Burgundian Carnival, both amazing in their similarities.
The Rhenish Carnival is celebrated throughout Limburg and the eastern part of North Brabant. Originally the Carnival in Rhineland was used as a protest against the Protestant Prussia who had occupied this area. On November 11th, the numerous carnival groups choose one of their Carnival Prince and a Council of eleven who will be involved with the organizing of the event. Then the majorettes begin their practice and the costume makers start assembling the beautiful clothes.
The exuberant carnival is mainly celebrated in North Brabant, Gelderland and the Catholic part of Zeeland Flanders. Traditionally, this was a costumed carnival and eating feast during which people would ridicule each other. Given the poverty in this part of the Netherlands people at the carnival wore simple costumes out of which the famous blue smock was the most common one.
Not only is the key to the city symbolically handed over by the mayor to the Prince Carnival, but the city also gets a new name. Tilburg got pretty hot during the carnival Kruikenstad. A habit that was quite common, a beautiful procession through the town with allegorical floats and groups of costumed members, has long been banned in Tilburg. Because of a disagreement between the young people in the city and the church government, partying in public places was banned in 1857. Over a century later, the festival was allowed again, under the tight control of the Carnival Prince and the Council of Eleven. Tilburg and kruikenzeiker are the symbols of the carnival in Kruikenstad.
Den Bosch Oeteldonk
The yearly entrance in Den Bosch launched the Carnival in Oeteldonk. On Sunday, March 2, 2014 it all starts from the Central Station and the procession then draws toward the City Hall. The Carnival Prince receives the key to the city from the mayor. During the procession you can see a colorful parade of bands, orchestras, artists and colorful characters along with the spectators who have come from far to see this show. The beginning as a great entrance, not to be confused with the annual parade which takes place on Monday, is not only pleasing to the eye but also a humorous show if you notice the images and acts that mock local politicians and events.
It is totally different from the carnival before the fasting, but Rotterdam can not not be mentioned here. The dates of 18, 19 and 20th of July, 2014, mark the Summer Carnival in Rotterdam. This colorful event that now has the name of Robin Rotterdam Unlimited, already exists for 30 years, the event culminating with the parade through the city. On Friday the 18th of July it all starts at 18.00 with an upbeat music being played in the city at venues on the Coolsingel and Churchill Square. The Battle of the Drums is again part of this event as well as the election of the Carnival Queen. On Saturday the fun starts at 13.00 with a Street Parade in which 2,000 people participate. The largest tropical carnival in the Netherlands passes through Rotterdam from Blaak to Witte de Withstraat, the Museum Park, New Binnenweg Westblaak, Charles Doormanstraat, Weena and the city hall and then it ends back at Blaak. Also on Saturday there is great music played by different swing bands at various venues throughout the city center. There are also various exotic snacks to be found throughout the entire city at food stalls and fixed locations!