Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

Rotterdam Carnival, Rotterdam 2023

25 July 2023 - 29 July 2023

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If you can’t make the Rio Carnival and Notting Hill Carnival, head for the Rotterdam Carnival (Rotterdam Unlimited Carnival) in the summer. From 25 to 29 July, 2023 the Netherlands’s second largest city will explode with a mix of music, comedy, spoken words and partying.

In keeping the city’s vibrant, multicultural 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

Rotterdam Carnival Rotterdam Unlimited
Rotterdam Unlimited Photo ©

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

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

The Hofplein will see the National Battle of the Drums with three bands banging away for the title.

The highlight of the carnival is the Summer Street Parade 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 Rotterdam Unlimited
Rotterdam Unlimited

Rotterdam Carnival Route

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

When is the 2023 Carnival?

It is from 25 to 29 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,


25 July 2023
29 July 2023


Rotterdam,Netherlands+ Google Map

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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