1. the Rijnland carnaval is celebrated in eastern part of the province of Noord-Brabant and all over the province of Zuid-Limburg.
2. the Bourgondisch carnaval is celebrated in most cities of Noord-Brabant, the province of Gelderland and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (southwestern corner of the country).
3. in, roughly speaking, the rest of the country carnaval is not celebrated.
This year, carnaval is celebrated from 10 to 12 February.
About the Burgundy and Rijnland carnaval
Practically every city has got it’s own traditions and Prins Carnaval; actually, in the Rijnland carnaval each ‘carnaval society’ has its own prince and there can be multiple societies in one city. The mayor hands over the keys (and thus power) over to the Prince for three days. It’s good to stay in the vicinity of the prince, as he often gives ‘free rounds (of beer)’ to all people in the bar.
Many towns have a carnaval procession with decorated trailers, dressed up people and playing musicians. Often, the procession has a certain theme.
The main differences between the two carnavals are that the Burgundy carnaval is mostly celebrated indoors, whereas the Rijnland carnaval is celebrated outdoors. In addition, the Rijnland carnaval is derived from the Venetian carnaval which can be recognized by the elaborate costumes that the party people in South Limburg wear.
The Burgundy carnaval derives from a ‘eat feast’ during which people made fun of each other. Costumes are also much simpler; wearing just a cape made from old curtains is already sufficient to blend in the crowd.
Good to know..
In the week preceding carnaval, the evenings are called “Old Wives (evening)”. Any man is shooed away, neck ties are cut off and other humiliating practices may be executed… so dress like a woman if you plan to have a drink in a bar.
For the Rijnland carnaval, really do dress up! You’d fall completely out of place when you don’t.
Carnaval Highlights 2013
As Maastricht is the capital of Zuid-Limburg, the carnaval feast is the biggest there and I have listed the main highlights (which I've been told by people from the region - I come from the very north of NL and have never celebrated carnaval).
Sunday 10 February
At 10h33 carnaval festivities start on the main city square: het Vrijthof, Maastricht. All kinds of traditions take place then and I have honestly no idea what they entail. At 13h33 the large procession starts at Central Station. This should be an impressive happening.
Monday 11 February = Familyday
Different acts are performed on 6 stages spread over town.
Tuesday 12 February
At 14h11 it's time for the Zate Hermeniekes-concours. Judging from photos from past years, it looks like a lot of music and dance in a parade. At 20h33 the parade heads to the Vrijthof where at 23h55 the Mooswief (giant doll) is pulled down… closing the carnaval celebration. Apparently, many people get emotional viewing this scene.
CARNAVAL OFFER (escape to the country side or experience the party from within)
Stay in any ChateauHotel (luxury castle hotel) for E111 per room, incl. breakfast! Offer valid from 4-11/February. Please call the idividual hotels and mention 'Masquerade Package / Maskerade arrangement' to make use of the offer. Alternatively, contact me at kira [ at] lifeinamsterdam.com
Take a glimpse of Chateau St. Gerlach (feat. a spa) and call T. 043. 608 88 88
Experience the Maastricht carnavel, stay at Kruisherenhotel and call T. +31 (0)43 329 20 20
Enjoy carnaval at Hotel Winselerhof and call T. +31 (0)45 546 43 43