As in many countries with catholic print, the carnival is celebrated before the beginning of the fasting period of Easter. Mainly atheist country, The Netherlands is holding the celebrations in the South part of the country and the most known festivities are held in Maastricht.
The religious mass is preparing for 6 weeks of fasting physically and psychologically and there’s a good reason to have a parade before a period in which you should discard the modern way. Of course, this was more realistic in the past and today the carnival is a motive for celebrating in colorful costumes on the streets of the city. The festivities take place for 3 days and in 2018 they will start on Sunday, 11 of February. The parade is scheduled to start at 13:33 on Sunday, according to Visit Maastricht.
Maastricht, the capital of Limburg province, is in itself a beautiful and full of history city. Should I mention that Limburg is the only province with actual hills? The city is split in half by Maas river and immense bridges are bringing the neighborhoods together. The main train station is situated at around 1 km from the old city center, but the carnival will start from the multiple small streets intersecting the main avenue from the station towards Sint Servaasbrug bridge.
The parade will take place on the bridge itself, going towards the Market Square (Grote Markt) and finally to Vrijthof Square. The place will become an open air club as music will be heard from all of the corners and people will dance in their majestic costumes. Most of the shops will be closed during the festivities, but there will be multiple fast food trucks in Vrijthof area. Also most of the bars will be opened as there’s no celebration without a 150 ml glass of beer!
Planning already? Don’t forget to check this for tips about traveling in The Netherlands. In case you consider Maastricht is too far, visit Den Bosch. The city has a new name during the carnival – Oeteldonk- Frog’s Town and everyone will have a frog on them in all sorts of ways possible! And don’t forget to wear a costume or a small decoration – easy to find in any store in the train station too.