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Since 2013, the Summer Carnival is part of the multi-day festival Rotterdam Unlimited, which is all about dance, music, art and poetry. The Caribean Summer Carnival is one of the highlights of this festival a and it attracts nearly one million visitors every single year! Every summer the streets in Rotterdam come alive with the Latin-American sounds and smells. This colourful and musical event is an offshoot of the Carnival in Latin-America the participants are a melting pot of various cultures, but especially from the Netherlands Antilles and Cape Verde. The Caribbean music will make you swing your hips for sure, especially during the Street Parade closing event with thousands of dancers from many different countries! The best thing is: the Rotterdam Summer Carnival is for free!
The Summer Carnival actually starts on Saturday, a week before the street parade with the Queen Election. You can vote online on the candidates from several carnival groups, but a professional jury will have the final word in electing the Summer Carnival Queen in Rotterdam. The Queen has to be representative, looking good, but above all she must be a great Latin dancer! The Summer Carnival Queen will be the main character in the Street Parade on Saturday and will be the upcoming year's ambassador of the Summer Carnival in Rotterdam.
Friday evening before the closing Street Parade there will be a contest between the best three brass bands of the Netherlands. These brass bands will perform a spectacular show called the Battle of Drums. Brass bands? Expect a spectacular show with rhytmical drumbeats, that can be heard from miles away! These brass bands depart from three different locations within Rotterdam, make a procession through Rotterdam and gather at the Churchillplein square for a big show altogether! It's a great way to get into the mood for the Summer Carnival streetparade the day after.
The Street Parade is the grande finale of what the Summer Carnival of Rotterdam Unlimited is really all about. On Saturday afternoon, a colourful parade of brass bands and thousands of beautifully dressed dancers make a swinging and singing procession through the streets of Rotterdam. Big carnival trucks play loud music, so absolutely nobody will be able to miss their drum beats! Rotterdam is turned into a tropical paradise for one day. You'll swing your hips to the catchy music for sure. Besides dance and music, Summer Carnival in Rotterdam is all about tropical food and drinks. At Coolsingel you can taste all kinds of exotic food and drinks with hundreds of food stalls. Go Latin and try a Roti or Bara and experience a real Caribbean Carnival weekend! Scroll down to see the route of the Street Parade through Rotterdam.
As Summer Carnival is now part of the Rotterdam Unlimited festival, the city will also host many other events during the week prior to Summer Carnival. Throughout the city there will be many music and dance performances and poetry readings. The highlights of the festival are the free concerts at Hofplein square on Friday- and Saturday evening. For the full festival programme visit our page about Rotterdam Unlimited.
Parking Summer Carnival Rotterdam
Lots of streets in Rotterdam center will be closed for traffic during the Summer Carnival and it be difficult to park your car. The best option is to travel to Rotterdam by public transport. If you come by car you can park your car at one of the park + ride locations just outside city center and travel by metro. You can find more information on our page about parking in Rotterdam.
BLAAK - Schiedamsedijk - Schilderstraat - Witte de Withstraat - Museumpark - Nieuwe Binnenweg - Westblaak - Karel Doormanstraat - Weena - Coolsingel - BEURS
The street parade marches through the centre of Rotterdam along a 2,5 km route, so there are plenty of places to watch this colourful parade. The streetparade departs and finishes at Blaak. The stretch along Coolsingel and the narrow Witte de Withstraat are the most crowded parts and you have to be there early to have a fine spot. However, at Museumpark there's much more space!
Summer carnival takes place on 28- July- 2018
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