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Rotterdam Zomercarnaval, Netherlands

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What is the Rotterdam Zomercarnival?

The Zomercarnaval is a summer carnival held annually in the city of Rotterdam. The celebration is held with the intention of imitating the traditional Latin American, Caribbean and Cape Verdean carnival. However, due to weather conditions in February, the month in which the traditional carnival is normally held, it is held in summer, since ithas a more pleasant temperature for this type of celebration.

The Zomercarnaval has been compared with in some occasions by the Karneval der Kulturen in the city of Berlin and theNotting Hill Carnival in the city of London. In addition, the Zomercarnaval has been awarded the Dutch Prince Claus Award, a recognition that has been awarded since 1997 and is given to individuals or institutions that carry out work or activities related to culture, especially related to Asia, Africa, Latin America or the Caribbean..


 

The Carnival is carried out on behalf of the Stichting Zomercarnaval Nederland which works every year to transform the Zomercarnaval into a vehicle to make the world around us more understanding and tolerant through its events. In addition, it offers spaces to thediverse cultures and traditions so that they can be transmitted and become part of the community. To this end, the carnival is composed of different groups that are part of the events, about 25 tropical carnival groups are part of the celebrations every year with entertainment and cultural development purposes.

The Zomercarnaval celebrations consist of a wide range of events that take place before and during the official festival dates. The carnival consists of the Queen’s selection, a warm-up ceremony with a drum battle, the Grand Carnival Street Parade and the market which is composed of a gastronomic fair and sale of handicrafts from various regions of the world..

Currently, the Zomercarnaval has the participation ofthousands of collaborators, musicians and dancers who make it possible for the festivities to take place every year. As a result, thecity of Rotterdam receives at least one million visitors each year who come from all over the country and the world to be part of the Zomercarnaval carnival festivities.

 

Stichting Zomercarnaval Nederland (SZN)

Stichting Zomercarnaval Nederland has existed since 1984 and was founded to initiate cultural gatherings. The aim of the foundation is to bring elements or expressions of tropical carnival into Dutch society, not simply to Rotterdam society, but also to various parts of the country, from north to south.

Since its inception, the foundation has received a lot of help in organizing and carrying out all the activities that today are included in the Zomercarnival. The summer carnival has become part of Rotterdam’s identity and culture over the years, integrating the rest of the world’s cultures through groups that participate directly in the Zomercarnival. Currently the association has more than 200 volunteers and more than 3,000 personalities participate in the parade that integrates the participation of some 25 different cultures.

 

The Zomercarnaval is a multicultural celebration that integrates several groups from all over the world

The Zomercarnaval is a multicultural celebration that integrates several groups from all over the world

 

When is the Rotterdam Zomercarnival?

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Zomercarnival is a festival that always has a fixed date, as it is usually celebrated during the last weekend of June. Taking this into consideration, the Summer Carnival or Zomercarnaval is celebrated approximately from July 31 to August 1.

 

 

History of the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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First Zomercarnival

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The Summer Carnival of Rotterdam was first held in 1983 in Utrecht, a city southeast of Rotterdam, under the name “Antillean Summer Carnival“, as an alternative to the Caribbean carnival. The event was brought about by a small group of students from Curaçao and Aruba who wanted to celebrate the carnival tradition as they knew it in their home countries. However, because the festivities could not be held in February due to weather conditions, they were held during the summer months.

 

Formalization of the festivities in Rotterdam

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In 1984 the well-known Antillean Summer Carnival was instituted in Rotterdam because the city of Utrecht was unwilling to adopt the event. At that timethe city of Rotterdam already had a group of ethnic minorities, which made the carnival festivities a perfect fit for the city. From this moment on, the different organizations began to congregate to plan and organize the carnival festivities.

 

Philosophy of the Crucible

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The year 1988 was a crucial year for the carnivals in Rotterdam, as the carnival had been growing at a good pace and started to integrate various groups from Cape Verde and Suriname. Thus, the carnival ceased to be known as the Antilles Summer Carnival and began to be called “Rotterdam Summer Carnival“.

For the next few years, the institution had to acquire some kind of organization that would allow it to run the carnivals successfully. For this reason, the municipality managed to rally severalleaders from the business, municipal and social community to become board members, initiating the new professional council. This new organization established sound financial policies, focusing solely on projects that pertained to the Summer Carnival, working towards the event’s goal.

In 1988 the carnivals added new elements of calypso, known as the International Calypso Festival, a celebration of utmost importance and popularity in Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba. During this carnival period, several composers, singers and bands from the islands competed against each other for the most beautiful carnival song, this event took place until 1992.



Tenth anniversary

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The carnival was celebrating its 10th year of celebration and due to its great success and popularity, a name change was necessary. The carnival began to be called simply Rotterdam Carnival. Furthermore, in the year 1996, the Stichting Zomercarnaval Nederland (SZN) or Foundation of the Summer Carnival of the Netherlands was founded. The purpose of the caranval began to change, with objectives focused on promoting cultural identities through cultural expressions in the country.

SZN’s philosophy was to provide spaces for integration and acceptance in the Dutch community by organizing a tropical carnival party, confirming its “melting pot” philosophy due to the differentcultural expressions that the carnivals were beginning to acquire.

 

Breaking Records

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During 2005 the Rotterdam Zomercarnival took in a total number of 1 million people. The carnival had started with a participation of 32,000 people by the year 1984 with 32,000 visitors, fulfilling a record number of visitors that had not been imagined in its beginnings.

In 2013 the two foundations joined forces to start a new project called Rotterdam Unlimited, which comprised an extension of the festival that would provide new financial resources for the carnival.

 

Where is the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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The Zomercarnival takes place in the city of Rotterdam in the province of South Holland. The city has a total population of 630,000.

Currently the Zomercarnival is also held in the city of Kortrijk, Belgium. However, the Rotterdam Zomercarnival has the most influence and popularity.

 

The Zomercarnival integrates groups from all over the world to perform

The Zomercarnival integrates groups from all over the world to perform

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How is the Rotterdam Zomercarnival celebrated?

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The Rotterdam Zomercarnaval has unique celebratory elements that integrate the different components of Caribbean and Latin American carnivals. For this reason, you will see a large number of activities ranging from the traditional carnival grand parade to Caribbean music and samba music concerts. In addition, the carnivals also hold some ceremonies prior to the official start of the festivities.

 

Queen’s election

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Zomercarnaval begins with the election of the queen. The person who is chosen for the position will not only fulfill the errands of the Carnival Queen, but will also represent the institution with government and business meetings within the Netherlands and at other events abroad. A neutral jury evaluates the different candidates for queen taking into consideration not only the external beauty, but also the carnival spirit that the organization intends to express in the country and the rest of the world.
During the election of the queen, the candidates must go through 3 different rounds: In the first round they must show their dance and rhythm, in the second round they must demonstrate all the knowledge about carnivals, their purpose and carnival spirit and in the third round they must perform a presentation with a group of dancers.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country I recommend this guide:.

 

Battle of Drums

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Drum battle serves as a sort ofcarnival warm-up where several instrument bands, exclusively metal drum bands, register for the competition. After registration, the organization chooses 3 bands that will be performing live on an incredible open-air stage competing for the public’s attention. During the event the 3 bands fight for the title of the best Caribbean instrumental band in the Netherlands.

On the day of the event, the 3 bands start their performances at three different points in the city, and then meet in the middle of a large stage. The event lasts approximately two hours and is attended by some 80,000 spectators.

 

Market

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The Zomercarnaval market features a wide variety of dishes from all over the world, integrating dishes from many different cultures, from Surinamese, Indian, Chinese to West Indian and from fast food to delicious healthy and traditional meals.

In addition, you can also find a lot of handbags, handicrafts, music, jewelry, clothing and various types of handmade garments.

 

Zomercarnaval Parade

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The Zomercarnaval Parade is a grand spectacle that transforms the streets of the city into a tropical dance stage. The parade is for everyone regardless of age, gender or skin color and includes lots of tropical music, dancing and singing. Each group has its own theme, which is reflected in every aspect of the presentation, including the floats that traverse the streets of Rotterdam. During the parade also participates the Carnival Queen who is usually at the top of the parade.

The 60 Dutch carnival groups participate in the event every year, integrating more than 2,500 dancers, 30 foreign carnival groups, 30 music and DJ groups and 25 floats that travel the 5 km route in the city center of Rotterdam. The parade becomes a true carnival event that transforms the city into one big party.

 

Tips for going to the Rotterdam Zomercarnaval

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If you decide to visit the Rotterdam Zomercarnival, we recommend planning your trip in advance, making a travel itinerary and booking your preferred accommodation in advance.

Be sure to pack comfortable clothes so you can fully enjoy your carnivals. Also, remember to bring some water and apply sunscreen regularly to counteract the effects of the heat and sun.

The city of Rotterdam is committed to holding carnivals as environmentally friendly as possible. That is why we advise you not to throw garbage on the ground and to deposit it in the designated sites. If you do not find a specific site, keep it in your pockets or backpack to dispose of your waste in a more appropriate place.

Finally, the organization has a security and order system, which will put into action any measure they deem necessary to ensure the safety of the public.

 

Events at the Rotterdam Zomercarnaval

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The election of the Carnival Queen which takes place with the competition of the candidates and the verdict of the jury in the different categories is usually held at the beginning of July, usually on the first of the month.

The drum battle or warm-up and the market take place the day before the carnival parade, that is, the first day of the carnivals. The market extends both days, although the installation takes place on the first day of the carnivals.

The parade is held on the last day and begins at approximately 1:00 pm when it starts the tour of the streets of the city. The paradefinishes its course after about 6 hours of show..

 

People from all over the world integrate the Zomercarnaval

People from all over the world integrate the Zomercarnaval

 

Rotterdam Zomercarnival Parades

 

The Zomercarnaval Parade features dozens of national and international groups and thousands of dancers performing various choreographies. Also, the parade integrates carriages, music bands, percussionists, acrobats and various forms of entertainment to create the perfect atmosphere for visitors.

 

 

The carnival offers spaces for the variousCaribbean and Latin American groups to perform their different presentations, both dance and live music, turning the streets of Rotterdam into a multicolored and diverse stage.

 

Parade route

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Zomercarnaval parade starts and ends in Schiedamsedijk

Zomercarnaval parade starts and ends in Schiedamsedijk

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The Zomercarnaval parade starts at 1:00pm in Schiedamsedijk. Then, the parade arrives at Hofplein at approximately 3:00pm and ends again in Schiedamsedijk around 5:30 or 6:00pm.

 

Stroopwafel is a dough disk filled with caramel

Stroopwafel is a dough disk filled with caramel

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What to eat at the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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The Zomercarnaval food fair offers you a large number of dishes from all over the world, traditional Dutch food and traditional street food. In addition, it offers a large variety of international street food such as pork ribs, burgers and fries. We recommend you come to the fair so you can experience a wide variety of dishes.

One of the most popular street foods is the stroopwafel, a kind of waffle in the shape of a thin disk that is filled with caramel. This dish is quite famous in all major cities and in some adjacent countries in the region.

You can also try the Kapsalon, a dish invented in 2003 in the city of Rotterdam. The avocado consists of a bed of fried potatoes to which a layer of minced meat is placed. It is then topped with cheese, lettuce and various sauces. The dish has become quite popular and nowadays it counts as a street food of choice.

In addition, the city of Rotterdam offers you some options for eating out: Gastrobar Hartig, Zeezout, Restaurant Fred, Bierhandel De Pijp and Kaat Mossel.

 

Kapsalon is classic Rotterdam street food

Kapsalon is classic Rotterdam street food

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Travel Insurance

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From Carnavalesdelmundo.org we recommend taking out a good insurance to visit this carnival and see the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurance. Read more information about all insurance offers here:

 

 

What to see and do inside the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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Within the carnival you can attend the drum battle on the first day, it’s quite a percussion show worth seeing from start to finish. In addition, you can also attend the fair or market, which contains a large number of food, craft, clothing and art stalls.

It is a must to go to the carnival parade, as it is one of the most important events. You will enjoy a large number of groups that will offer you a colorful and cultural show, including music and entertainment of the highest quality.

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world

 

What to see and do outside the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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The city of Rotterdam offers you some tourist attractions:

Erasmusbrug or Erasmusbrug Bridge

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It is a large bridge that is 802 meters long, 33 meters wide and 139 meters high. The bridge was completed in the year 1996 and connects the south side with the north side of the city.

 

Witte de Withstraat

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It is one of the streets with the most entertainment in the city. Within the street you can find a lot of cafes, restaurants, art galleries, stores and various entertainment venues. The street stretches for about 320 meters and contains some monuments and historical buildings.

 

Euromast

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It is an observation tower that was built between 1958 and 1960. The tower has a length of 101 meters and was considered one of the longest buildings before the Erasmus Medical Scepter.

If you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city, we recommend that you book your entrance ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting

 

Safety at the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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The city of Rotterdam is extremely safe to visit and stroll through its streets both day and night. Be sure to pay attention to your surroundings, especially in places with large concentrations of people to avoid becoming a victim of pickpockets.

In addition, the fairgrounds have first aid stations and security guards who will be happy to help you if you have any kind of problem.

The event has private security, so they are authorized to take any action to ensure the physical well-being of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to the fairgrounds every year.

Be sure to contact the relevant agencies if you notice any unusual activity.

It is always a good idea to keep your items in a safe place to avoid theft and misplacement. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your items safe and secure:

 

Weather at the Rotterdam Zomercarnaval

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The city e Rotterdam has a pleasant climate during the Zomercarnival celebrations, with temperatures ranging between 13 and 22 degrees Celsius.

 

The Zomercarnival is a vehicle for the different cultural expressions of the world

The Zomercarnival is a vehicle for the different cultural expressions of the world

 

How to get to the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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How to get there by plane

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The airport has its own airport, Rotterdam-The Hague Airport which connects to a good number of countries in the region. Once you are here, you can use the various means of transportation to reach the city center.

We recommend buying airline tickets through Kiwi.com or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review Kiwi.com..

 

How to get there by ferry

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There are several UK ferry companies that run tripsall the way to the port of Rotterdam.

 

How to get there by train

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You can reach Rotterdam from various cities in the country or region such as Amsterdam, Breda, Brussels, Paris or London.

 

How to get there by subway

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Once you are at the airport, you must take a bus at Lutonbaan. Once there, use the line 33 bus to get to Meijersplein metro station. Transfer and use subway line E to Stadhuis station in Rotterdam.

 

How to get there by bus

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Once you are at the airport, head to Lutonbaan on foot. Once there, take the #33 bus to Rotterdam Central.

 

How to get there by car

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From the airport you can take the Schieweg to the city center. In addition, you can take a cab. The price of a taxi ranges between 19 to 24 US dollars.

 

Where to stay at the Rotterdam Zomercarnival

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Booking.com

 

Holiday Inn Express Rotterdam

3-star hotel 450 meters from Rotterdam city center. Rooms feature TV with international channels, tea and coffee making facilities, air conditioning and private bathroom. Facilities include bar, elevator, parking and free wifi.

 

The James Rotterdam

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3-star hotel 500 meters from the center of Rotterdam. Rooms feature desk, TV and private bathroom. Facilities include gym, parking and free wifi.

 

NH Atlanta Rotterdam Hotel

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4-star hotel 550 meters from the center of Rotterdam. Rooms have private bathrooms and tea and coffee making facilities. Facilities offer bar, gym, parking and free Wi-Fi.

We recommend using Booking.com to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:

 


Booking.com

 

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