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Rotterdam Carnival, Rotterdam Unlimited

July 23, 2019 - July 27, 2019

Rotterdam Carnival

If you can’t make the Rio Carnival and Notting Hill Carnival, head for the Rotterdam Carnival (Rotterdam Unlimited Carnival) this summer. From 23 to 27 July, the Netherlands’s second largest city will explode with a mix of music, comedy, spoken words and partying.

In keeping the city’s vibrant, multicultual nature, the Rotterdam Summer involves some 2.000 people celebrating around 25 different tropical carnival traditions.

The festival has seven categories: Queen Election, Warming-up, Battle of Drums, Mercado, Street Parade, Stage Programming and the award ceremony.

History of the Summer Carnival

Summer Carnival Parade
Rotterdam Summer Carnival Parade, photo Daarzjin

What once started as a small and cosy cultural / artsy project by the Curacao and Aruban people in the Netherlands has evolved into a large and renowned multicultural event.

Nowadays, people from all over the world (Brazil, Cape Verde, Suriname, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Windward Islands, Spain, UK, Trinidad, Jamaica, France, Germany, Belgium, Angola and the Netherlands) join this festive event.

Rotterdam Carnival Programme

This year will see Kenyan Muthoni Drummer Queen take to Schouwburgplein on 27 July, as will the guitarist, composer and oud player Belgian Karim Baggili (of Jordanian-Yugolsla origins). Other performers include Josylvio, Niffo’s and A Mili.

To get the full programme for this year’s carnival, click here.

Rotterdam Carnival Battle of the Drums
Battle of the drums, ©

The Hofplein will see the National Battle of the Drums at 7pm on 26 July, with three bands banging away for the title.

The highlight of the carnival, the Summer Street Parade will set off from Blaak on 27 July, with 25 carnival groups, and some 2,500 people from 25 nations participating, led by the Summer Carnival Queen in a 2.5-km procession through the city centre.

Rotterdam Carnival Route

To find out the route that the procession will take, click here.

When is the Rotterdam Carnival 2019?

It is from 23 to 27 July.

Can’t make this carnival, then try our round-up of the best carnivals around the world.

For more information on the Summer Carnival

Click here.

For ideas on things to do in Rotterdam

Visit the tourist information site

Cover image by Claire Droppert,


July 23, 2019
July 27, 2019
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Let the adventure begin.