The Uptown Hostel

Carnival in the South of Holland


Carnival in the South! A very good reason (maybe the only one) to leave Amsterdam for a couple of days!

Every year in February there is the festival of Carnival (that’s how we say it in Dutch). Unfortunately we don’t celebrate it in the whole of the Netherlands, but only in the deep south. Although nothing is very far in this little country, during Carnival the north and the south of Holland are 2 worlds apart. In the south, public life is completely shut down for 3 days. Everyone is partying, dancing, drinking and making music in bars and in the streets. In the north, like in Amsterdam,..well, nothing unusual is going on.
If you are from the south, like I am, no matter what, you pack up your bags and take the train from Amsterdam to the south, to be exact, to the historic city of Maastricht on the border of Belgium and Germany. If you have a chance to go, do it! You won’t regret it!

I will explain.

In the Maastricht, life as you know it won’t not exist anymore for those few days; public life is shut down! In return, life will be one gigantic party where beer is your meal and dancing your exercise. Everyone and I mean everyone, from age 5 to 95, is dressed up in an extravagant way and hits the streets.

All the bars and pubs take out their furniture and put extra bars outside where they poor even more drinks; mainly beer. The streets are filled, the bars crowded. But it doesn’t matter cause for 3 days there are no rules, no work, and no responsibility. Just having a good time and a good laugh is all you need to worry about.  If you are not from the south and visit the city of Maastricht during Carnival, you will think everyone went completely mad. There is just one remedy; put on a wig, a crazy costume and throw yourself in! You will come out a little damaged, probably kissing a couple of people and a little tired for not having slept properly, but I know for a fact you have enjoyed yourself.

Curious?.. This year Carnival starts at noon on Sunday the 18th of February and ends Tuesday the 20th  at midnight exactly. When it hits midnight I have seen people cry… overcome by sadness that for one whole year it’s waiting again for Carnival.
So what are you waiting for?