Rotterdam Summer Carnival

Luckily I was in Holland, during the zomercarnaval days. My Dutch friend told me about it and I knew I had to see it. In my head, I was imagining the Rio carnival with Latino dancers and colorful floats. In reality, it was indeed all of that and more.

rotterdam summer carnival

Rotterdam is just 40 mins from Amsterdam and easily accessible by train. The festive spirit will drive you to the parade area, though, it really lights up the entire city.

zomercarnaval 2016

Inspired by Brazilian carnivals and hosting over a million visitors each year, the Rotterdam summer carnival is very popular among tourists and locals alike.

high spirits at zomercarnival in rotterdam

The best part of the carnival is that the entire parade area looks like one big festival and everyone is happy and cheerful. Being part of this huge joyous gathering is an exhilarating experience.

Big happy parade at zomercarnaval

The Rotterdam summer carnival is one massive party with dance and music performances, fun programs like Battle of Drums and Queen Election, peppy floats, food stalls and street performances.

big parade summer carnival

All you want to know about Zomercarnaval 2016

Zomercarnaval 2016 is taking place on 30th July and is expected to be bigger than ever.

zomercarnival 2016

Due to extreme weather conditions, it was cancelled last year so this year, so, they are going out this time with over 30 different floats, 2500+ dancers and the parade route will be around 5 kms.

rotterdam zomercarnaval

Now the summer carnival is a part of Rotterdam Unlimited which is a 5 day long event from 26-30th July, the Zomercarnaval being the grand finale.

queen of summer carnival 2016

Tips for experiencing the Rotterdam summer carnival

Arrive before the big crowds gather and wait towards the end (people usually rush to the start) – Don’t worry you wont miss anything as the parade will continue as per the designated route. You can avoid hefty crowds initially but to be honest, you wont be able to avoid them for long because once the parade approaches, the crowd follows.

chilling at summer carnival

We arrived early and saved a spot (not for long) while enjoying the vibe

Wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to follow the parade, which is a lot of fun, if I might add.

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fun parade

Overall, the Rotterdam summer carnival should not be missed and in fact I would totally recommend going to Rotterdam especially to experience this fun event.

dancers at zomercarnaval

Have you been to the zomercarnaval or any other great carnivals? Do share your experience in comments below.

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  • I usually try to avoid big events like this (claustrophobic!), but this one looks like so much fun! I love how bright and beautiful the costumes are. How unfortunate that it was canceled last year. Hopefully, it will goes as planned this year 🙂

  • Katie Hughes

    I love the costumes, it looks like fun to attend and follow the parade, would you ever dance in it though?!

    • I am not the shy types usually but I need a “trigger” to dance – Alcohol does the trick 🙂

  • Jennifer Morrow

    The costumes are amazing! So much effort goes into the floats and costumes, such hard work!

    • Yes I agree. We just look at the “fun” part but the planning and the work that goes into it, must be indeed challenging.

  • Seriously need to attend more carnivals like these after reading this. I know Thailand has a few but I never make it to them. I used to attend some back in Pakistan and if I’m ever in Europe (carnival central) I’ll definitely go to one.

  • Gina Panozzo

    Loved seeing all the photos from the parade. I also loved your tip of staying far away from the crowds. It’s always tough because everyone wants a good seat! 🙂

  • Chantell Collins

    Wow how spectacular. I knew that Germany had a carnival but I had no idea there was on in Holland too. It will be great to check it out, hopefully next year, as we will be based in Germany. Thanks for sharing!

  • I had no idea Rotterdam had a carnival! How fun! Your photos show how vibrant and electrifying it must have felt to be there! We want to visit Rotterdam just to see all the interesting architecture, I would love if we were able to schedule our visit around this time! Thanks for sharing!

  • Christina

    Looks like a great time visit. I love being around when festivals are on and I didn’t know Rotterdam had carnival. Thanks for letting me know.

  • This looks like a lot of fun! I took a look at the event site you linked to- and there is so much offered! Did you plan to be there for the festival or was it just a lucky accident? Either way, lucky you!

    • I just “happened” to be in Holland during those dates – really lucky I would say. I just had to take a train from The Hague to Rotterdam to enjoy the carnival 🙂

  • This might be good practice before doing the Carnival in Brazil. It looks “tamed” but still awesome. I had a friend who did go to the Brazilian Carnival and she had the time of her life. I might do this one first haha.

    • Damn, it sounds super fun. I need to make it to the real deal!

  • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

    This is AMAZING! I love Mardi Gras and this would be even better 😉 love the outfits!