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Rotterdam Carnival, Rotterdam 2023
July 25 - July 29
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
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 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
For ideas on things to do in Rotterdam
Visit the tourist information site.
Cover image by Claire Droppert,