Just like every year, on the 11th of the 11th at 11:11:11 carnaval officially starts. People gather from all around the Netherlands at our own Vrijthof to celebrate this awesome tradition. Read more to find out why shit goes down at this particular date and what you can expect. The number 11 represents the fools/retards/idiots/crazy people that we keep hidden (or not) from the public. The idea behind carnaval (starts the weekend of the 10th of February) is to let go of your inner maniac a couple of days before you have to fast for 40 days.
It all revolves around satire and having fun. People go all out making the most amazing costumes. Political and societal references in the costumes are very common, especially for the really dedicated ones. Some prefer to stick to a particular theme, which causes you to see group of people who are all dressed the same. Some people don’t dress up very fancy, but will be wearing clothing in the original colors of carnaval: red, yellow and green. It basically comes down to this: you either dress up or you don’t show up at all. There’s no need for party poopers.
Throughout the city you will see little bands playing. Some of them are referred to as ‘zaate hermeniekes’ (drunk bands). They don’t give a rats ass about the pitch or whether they are playing accurate. Many musicians will feel like a little piece is dying inside of them. For me it’s super normal and I don’t even hear whether they are playing horrible or not. Besides the traditional troops of music making people, brass bands are particularly common in Maastricht, causing it to be somewhat different than other cities in Limburg.
Most (if not all) of the music you will be hearing is in ‘plat’, the dialect of the singer. Plat is so different from Dutch that most people see it as a different language. It’s the language that locals speak and being able to speak/understand it has a lot of perks. The music will be cheerful and will make you want to move your feet, despite the cold wet weather we normally have. However, tomorrow it seems like there will be no rain and with a 10 degrees it isn’t even that bad. Hence, you have no reason to miss out on this awesome event. See you guys at Vrijthof.
I was born and raised in a town called Geleen, sited between the hills of the Dutch province of Limburg. I'm a 25 year old Psychology Master student and a member of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). I will enjoy shedding my critical light on life itself and share it with you while I am at it.