Maatricht is the Dutch Capital of Vasteloavend, or "Carnaval." Being a typical Catholic festival and Maastricht being the stronghold of catholic religion, its not strange that in the netherlands this festival is being identified with the city of maastricht. Well, there is a maastricht Carnival song that says "Maastricht is one big Pub" and indeed it is. during the 3 days period (diehards make it a7 days period) the whole city is just like a circus. People dancing on the streets, music everywhere (music from local artist of Carnivalmusic) and café s that are overcrowded by people wearing their "pèkskes" (carnival suites). During these days Prince Carnaval is ruling in Maastricht. During an official "meeting" at the townhall, he - and his gouvernement called "de Tempeleers" gets the "key" of the town, t.i. from that moment on, it's one big party!!! NB: the "season" of carnaval officially starts at 11 th november, and after the carnaval (wednesday) there's the traditionally "heering biete" t.i. eating herring and bread; a catholic tradition; for one is not allowed to eat meat that day. But for ex-carnival party-people its more an excuse to continue the beer-drinker party, for as they believe "herring must swim" and in a belly filled with beer the herring will actually have a time! There are many other things related to this interesting event, like f.e. the "zaate herremeniekes and " the "groete Optocht" This, however, you only will see when you are actually going to take part in the festival. (The picture is one of the old Vogelstruys café during Vasteloavend, this is - during these days - the place from where the "tempeleers" gouvern the town!
Detail of the "Carnaval statues" on Vrijthof square. Maastricht is very famous for the yearly Carnaval festivities. Next to Aachen and Köln/Düsseldorf in Germany they have a good reputation aswell. Most famous parade in Belgium is Aalst.
To stimulate the festivities in Maastricht, the local craft-guilds financed this "open air" exposition
Vrijthof : churches, theater, tourist taxi and many pubs and restaurants.
Next to the Carnaval statues is the spanish government museum.The museum contains rooms with mainly 17th and 18th century furnishings, including furniture, silver, porcelain and pottery, glassware and paintings.
it afternoon in town and the town hall is full of crowds. With an invitation you can get in and see the ‘ sleutel-overdracht’ ( handover the key of the city). It is always celbrated they saterday before Carnival starts. The local celebrities are invited as well some national persons in the field of politics. Such as ministers and parlement members. The crowd is sitting on chairs or are standing, there is a music chapel and in front of the stairs in the hall, the happening is stage, while the Tempeliers are sitting at the left side. Prince Carnival is at the stage and at the right side the national celebrities are sitting. That is how it goes. The mayor gives a long speech ful of humor and anectoted, the chairman of the Carnival club, ‘ the tempeliers’ is even kore eloquent in speeching and then songs are being performed by the audience and at the end the celebraties get their ‘ carnival suite’ (pekske) to symbolize that they are ‘ out of power’ during 3 days of carnival. Local celebrity and minister Maria Van der Hoever, Camile Eurlings and Verhaagh get their invitation to show up, because they are the ‘ sons’ of Maastricht. After the celebration there is champlain in the Prinsenkamer, a room in the townhall, and after that celebration goes on in the cellar of the townhall. Then it is saterday evening, Carnival is already going on, but not many wearing costumes. Some like the saterday as the best day of carnival however.
Maastricht and Carnaval are just one and the same thing. It is here the largest parade is presented and where the people really have the traditional Carnaval as it should be done. Okay, many many visitors from the rest of the country go here to celebrate with them, but I am profoundly sure that many citizens of Maastricht celebrate in the recollection of the fact that this party end with the start of the fastingsperiod. There are even a lot that go to church on ashes-Wednesday and have some kind of limitation in the 40 days before Easter (for example no candy). The party itself goes on from Friday until Tuesday-evening 24:00 hours. It is an amazing experience that - if you ever get the change - shouldn't be missed.