Maastricht Carnival 2023

10:00am 18 Feb, 2023 - 11:30pm 22 Feb, 2022

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Maastricht, Netherlands

Maastricht Carnival 2023: Carnival Off The Beaten Track

Experience the Netherlands like you’ve never experienced it before at Maastricht Carnival. The annual event is one of many carnival celebrations in the Netherlands that takes place each year just before Lent. Also known as ‘Vastelaovend’, the three-day celebration officially starts on Sunday and is carried out until Tuesday. During the festivities, the entire city of Maastricht can be seen covered in traditional red, yellow and green flags.

The celebrations kick off at 12:11 pm on Sunday. The number 11 is also known as the ‘fool’s number’ in the Netherlands and is a significant number during the carnival season. At 12:11 pm, eleven shots are fired from the Momus canon and the festivities officially begin.

“Dress up and fully immerse yourself in the local carnival culture at Maastricht Carnival!”

Your experience at Maastricht Carnival

The Sunday celebrations consist of The Great Procession ‘Groeten Optoch’, a colourful grand parade of floats and partygoers that proceed throughout the city centre. On Carnival Monday, the family day a more traditional parade can be found throughout the city. The family parade features more traditional floats, as well as small brass bands called ‘Hermeniekes’. Children are also able to showcase their talents during this carnival parade.

Finally, on Tuesday, you can see the Hermeniekes tour various jury cafes, where they will ‘blow their hearts out’ for the most points for a prize; 111 points being the maximum. The carnival celebration officially concludes at midnight.

Where to view Maastricht Carnival

Maastricht Carnival takes place in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht. Festivities and celebrations can be found all throughout the city centre. 

How to get around Maastricht

Located in the southernmost region of the Netherlands, the city can be found on the border of the Netherlands and Belgium. The nearest airport Dutch airport is Eindhoven Airport, located approximately an hour north of Maastricht.

Other nearby airports include Dusseldorf International Airport and Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany, both just over an hour east of Maastricht. You can also find Brussels Airport, just over an hour west of Maastricht. The city is easily accessible via car as well as public transport from all major airports.

You can also travel to the city via intercity trains that run throughout The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany; as well as ground transportation and regional coach services such as Flixbus.

Upon arrival, the trains and buses are readily available throughout the city, making it quick and easy to get around. The easiest way to get around the city is on foot, and bike rental options are also available throughout the city. 

Where to stay in Maastricht

The city of Maastricht features a variety of accommodation options throughout the city centre and surrounding areas. The nearest hotels include Amrâth Hotel DuCasque, Boutique Hotel Grote Gracht, Britannique and Derlon Hotel Maastricht.

You can also find a number of Airbnb deals throughout the city centre and surrounding suburbs. During the carnival season, accommodation options tend to sell out quickly and in advance; however, the city is just a short train ride away from neighbouring cities such as Liege, Roermond and Aachen. You can explore all the nearby accommodation options below. 

Things to do in Maastricht

The city of Maastricht offers a range of historical and local attractions. You can find a number of stunning churches and cathedrals throughout the city; including Saint Jan’s Church, the Basilica of Saint Servatius and the Basilica of Our Lady.

In the north, you can find Grotten Noord, the North Underground Caves and popular tourist attraction of Maastricht.

You can also find Kazematten Waldeck, an 18th-century fortress and cave network. The city is also home to a variety of museums. Popular museums include the Bonnefantenmuseum, Helpoort, the Maastricht Natural History Museum and the Museum can het Vrijhof. 

Photo credits: Visual Artifacts

Netherlands Travel Tips:

Plan ahead: Book your perfect trip with our Netherlands travel guide and destination information. Does Netherlands require a visa? Check the visa requirements before you get caught up during your travel.

Spend money wisely: Take public transport and dine in from time to time are common saving tips during traveling. How to spend money wisely in Netherlands? Make use of technology. There’s an app for everything.

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