Every summer the streets of Rotterdam are privy to a spectacle which has no equal anywhere else in The Netherlands: the Rotterdam Summer carnival and more specifically, the street parade.
Summer Carnival in Rotterdam is part of the intangible cultural heritage of the Netherlands. It is of great importance to the cultural identity and social cohesion of the country.
The Rotterdam summer carnival street parade first took place in 1984. Sure, there's carnival in other parts of the country. Such as the carnival celebrations in Brabant and Limburg. However, the Rotterdam summer carnival has a Caribbean flair. It includes many elements from Dutch-Caribbean carnival traditions and could best be compared to the Nottingham Carnival in Britain.
Battle of the Drums Rotterdam
The street parade is preceded the evening before by the Battle of the Drums; a procession of brass bands march through the city before competing against one another on stage. This event, which in itself is a nice warm-up for the street parade attracts about 50,000 people.
Rotterdam summer carnival street parade
The summer carnival street parade is part of Rotterdam Unlimited; a street festival celebrating cultural diversity and perhaps the largest of its kind in all of Europe. An eclectic music scene, a bustling art community and the city's 178 different cultures are the not-so-secret recipe that makes Rotterdam Unlimited an unforgettable experience. The street parade is said to attract around 900,000 visitors, depending on the weather. Rotterdam Unlimited is the culmination of an entire year of preparations by various groups and organizations. Expect to see over 2,500 dancers and about 30 floats from more than 20 different carnival groups.
Rotterdam Unlimited Concerts
One of the favourite things about Rotterdam Unlimited is perhaps the (free) concerts. Somehow, every year major artists show up and perform on a big stage near Hofplein or in other venues in the city. Past performers at Rotterdam Unlimited have included soca great Alison Hinds, Manu Chao among others. This year, you can expect to see the following artists performing in Rotterdam:
• The New Power Generation (Prince's band)
• Femi Kuti
• Muthoni Drummer Queen
• Frenna & 777 Band
• Orkesta Mendoza
• A Mili
• Ella John
To know exactly where and when, check out the Rotterdam Unlimited website.
Rotterdam summer carnival street parade route 2019
Due to construction works along the traditional route through the Coolsingel, the route has changed. This year, the parade starts at Blaak. The parade will pass through Schiedamse Dijk, Schilderstraat, Witte de Withstraat, continue along the Museumpark and then make a right onto the Nieuwe Binnenweg. From then on, the parade will continue on the Mauritsweg and make a right turn in front of Centraal Station and onto Weena. At the Hofplein fountain, the parade will proceed onto the Coolsingel for just a few metres before making another right onto Kruiskade and then a left onto the Karel Doormanstraat. After that, it goes back on Westblaak before ending at Blaak, back where it started.
Rotterdam Summer Carnival street parade details
Summer Carnival Street Parade 2019
Date: Saturday, 27th July 2019
Still not sure if you should attend? Have a look at the Rotterdam Unlimited 2017 aftermovie:
p.s. Is the information in this article incorrect or outdated? Please let us know.