Fancy dress for Carnaval in Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Why you should go to Carnaval in the Netherlands

Why you should go to Carnaval in the Netherlands


What is Carnaval?

Before moving to Amsterdam I had never heard of Carnaval or what it entailed, it turned out to be one of the greatest weekends I’ve had in the Netherlands. It’s an opportunity to do some day drinking, dressing up and unlimited amounts of dancing. On the other hand, you get to see some real freaky and slightly terrifying stuff.

Weirdly, Noord-Holland don’t tend to celebrate Carnival at all, it is mostly a tradition celebrating in the South of Holland. This is because the South of Holland has a predominantly Catholic background and Carnaval is celebrated as a Catholic holiday.

What it’s like

We made our way to Eindhoven which is an hour and 20-minute direct train ride from Amsterdam. Even the train journey there was filled with people fully dressed up and drinking!

We spent the day watching the parade, some of it very very cool and if I’m being honest, a lot of it completely weird. I’m surprised children weren’t running and screaming away from some of the floats that were around. 

Carnaval Netherlands 2018

After the parades, we got fuelled up with food and hit Eindhoven’s bars. The city is notoriously famous for having the longest stretch of bars in Holland. Of course, this is where went once the parade had ended.

What I liked for about the Dutch bars was the consistent Dutch music playing over and over again. It was very fun for about 10 minutes when beer is flying around and everyone is chanting the lyrics but after that, it really does make you want to jump into a canal. So we made our way to Thomas Café. An absolutely incredible club with the best atmosphere and songs you actually know the words to. 

Carnaval dress up

Why you should go

What I found quite surprising was the difference in people in Amsterdammers and those from the South. I would say people in South Holland are definitely crazier and dare I say it, more fun than those in the North. Even some of my colleagues from Amsterdam remarked on this when I mentioned I was going to Carnaval. People were singing and dancing in the streets, having the time of their lives and it really felt like I was back in the UK for a second. That was until that repetitive Dutch chanting started up again…

What’s great is that after a full day of day drinking you are pretty much ready to take the last train back to Amsterdam. Beware though, it’s completely packed with everyone passing out on train chairs, floors and steps!

 Don’t miss the next one

It was great to see another part of Holland. Eindhoven has a much different feel to it than Amsterdam, while Amsterdam feels very unique and historic in its own right, Eindhoven is more built up and modern.

It is definitely something everyone should experience once, especially if you are already living in the Netherlands. Catch the next one on March 3rd – 5th in 2019! 

Thanks for reading!


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