Mardi Gras in Netherlands

Netherland is a beautiful country in Europe that is considered one of the main tourist attractions. Although most people do not think that the Netherlands is as fun during the winters because of its ice cold weather and snow at all places. You will be glad to know that the Netherlands turn into a party country every year for a week on the Mardi gras celebration. Mardi Gras in Netherlands is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. It is the time of the Carnival. It is one of Europe’s biggest carnivals that take place for three days. If you want to visit the Netherlands during the Mardi gras celebrations, there is a lot of fun coming your way. In this article, we will discuss all the things that happen during Mardi Grass in Netherland and how you can celebrate it along with the locals of the country.

Image Source:

1. Importance of Mardi gras in Netherlands

The Mardi Gras in Netherland is celebrated with a carnival which brings out all the people in the country to celebrate the festival with joy. The carnival has been a part of the history of Netherland for ages. Many parts of the country celebrate the event, and big shows are organized by the events. Some of the biggest cities that celebrate Mardi gras with a carnival and it have a lot of events that everyone can participate in. The Mardi gras or the Carnival is only celebrated in the Catholic parts of the country which is mainly the southern Netherlands. However, people from all around the globe come and become a part of this celebration of a lifetime.

2. History of Mardi gras In Neither land

In the ancient times, the carnival was celebrated as the last days of eating good food before the winter kicked in and there would be limited supply of foods. However, after Christianity came, the Mardi Gras in Netherland became all about Lent. These are the days just before the fasting of Lent starts and continue till Easter. The beginning of the Dutch carnival dates back to 14th and 15th century. In the 17th and 18th century the carnival disappeared from the culture due to various reasons. However, it was again brought to practice in the 19th century. However, the current traditions of the carnival came into practice after the World War II. The carnival which was only supposed to have the Dutch customs is now a mixture of the customs of the French, German and Italian culture. With globalization and commercialization of the carnival, you will find new traditions being added every year to the list. Unlike the older times, the carnival has now become a way of celebration and sharing joy amongst the people.

3. How Is Mardi Gras Celebrated in the Netherlands?

The celebration of Mardi gras is a big event that takes place during the course of days.  Some of the events that are a part of the celebration are as follows:

Prince of the Carnival

On every 11th of November, the city council of 11 members meets and chooses a prince of the carnival. He is supposed to be the head of all the activities for the event. In the German tradition, the number 11 is known as the “fool’s number” hence all the activities take at time and dates including 11.

Carnival Floats

Carnival floats are also a big part of the celebration. The preparation of these floats takes months, and finally, they are brought to light in front of the public on the day of the carnival. The practice also begins weeks before the official festival dates.

Marching Bands

The marching bands are a part of the parades, and some of the best bands in the city are given a chance to perform. You will see perfect synchronization of the music and footsteps of the band members during the parade.

Bar Crawls

Bars in Netherland are open during the Mardi gras celebration, and different bar crawls take place. People who love to taste craft beers can be a part of these crawls. In the Netherlands, festivals mean party and the bars are the best places to party during the holidays.

End Party

The last day of the weeklong celebration is the best day to party. The bars are filled with people, and the roads have costumed locals celebrating. Get some beer and get into the party groove. End the day with some great alcohol, parties, and foods. As for the people with kids, a lot of different places have family-friendly events that let you celebrate with your family. However, it is important to make the reservations and bookings early because as we said, the last day is the ultimate day of fun and there are many people on the street. So, if you do not want to be stuck in the crowd, take some measures and do some preparation in advanced.

4. Places to see the best carnival

As already said, the Dutch Carnival takes place in all the major cities of Netherland. You can see big parades with floats and dancers celebrating the festival. We have made a list of all the major cities where you can catch the carnival:


The Maastricht carnival is the largest carnivals in Netherland. The Prince of Carnival is taken from the central station, and he leads the parade that has floats. Costumed carousers and marching bands. After the parade, you can participate in family events that take place all around the city. The carnival has all the outdoor events for families, and some are specially designed for the adults. Be prepared to have a blast during all these activities.

Jocus Riek

The carnival at Jocus Riek is known as the Venlo Carnival and is a huge parade that goes around the entire city. During the celebration more than ten parades take place, and each of them is as magnificent as another. So, in Jocus Riek you can see at least one parade happening each day during the festival celebrations.


The Tilburg Carnaval is an annual event that ends with a grand parade. Before the parade, many events take place for the families such as concerts, dance events and much more. You can participate in them and then be a part of the parade in the evening.


The Lampegat carnival is called the Eindhoven Carnaval, and this is one of the biggest and the best carnivals in the Netherlands. The carnival has everything from floats to marching bands and dance performers. You will see some creative costumes being displayed by the locals. The preparation of the carnival takes place all year long and hence the big show is such as success.


Kielegat is famous for its grand floats and colorful costumes. It starts in 12th February and goes around the entire city. The celebration, however, lasts for about a week, and you can visit numerous clubs and bars to celebrate the festivals and taste their specially crafted beers.


Although the carnival at Knotsenburg is not as big as the other places, you will surely see some amazing floats and performances on the way. People actively participate in the event by wearing costumes and dancing around the city. Join the parade and tap the first beer keg at 1 pm to celebrate the start of the event. This is followed by three days of nonstop events and activities around the city.


The Den Bosch Carnaval of Oetldonk is another one of the big parades that are named after the Arrival of the Prince Amadeiro. The first day of the celebration holds the carnival where you can see different floats and artists dressed in different costumes walking with the procession. After the carnival, the parties and events keep on happening for a long time.

5. What’s on The Menu?

Since this is a Dutch carnival, all the food that you can have is the Dutch food. However, you will be so wound up in the celebrations that there will be no time for food. Hence you can indulge in some snacks from the local bars and restaurants. In most of the cities, you will find food stalls near the carnival that serve some lip-smacking Dutch delicacies. If you want to fest on the proper Dutch food in a three-course meal, there are a lot of high-end restaurants that serve delicious foods. However, you need to make prior reservations since getting a table at this time of the year is very difficult. There is no end to the type of food you can taste during Mardi gras in Netherland. If you are new to the country, try asking the locals to guide you, and you will end up eating the best of the local cuisine all throughout your trip.

6. To Sum Up

The Mardi gras in Netherland is the time for the Dutch carnival and can be one of the best experiences for you to have. Make sure you celebrate the festivals just like the locals and get into the spirit of the celebrations. Apart from the bigger cities, the smaller cities also have their carnival parades, and you can even take the experience of the celebrations. The carnival is all about celebrations and food. You will have a great one week while celebrating Mardi Gras in Netherlands.


Happy-go-lucky gourmand met boho femme met snoozy miss, proud of her playlist and closet; very particular about her chai, sleep and movies ...