3 min read

Dancing in the streets

Dancing in the streets
Carnaval Maastricht 2024

It’s that time of the year again when the South of the Netherlands seems to step into a surrealistic world. Where people dress up in colourful and rather silly outfits, where rules fade away and laughter becomes the communal language. I’m talking about Carnaval.

A lifetime tradition

A tradition I treasure since I was very little. As a kid, I used to dress up the same with my best friend Emilie; we would collect sweets and of course get ourselves into a bit of mischief. In our teenage years, we would gather around my parents' house, get into all our layers that would keep us warm, face painting and hairdos, eat worstenbroodjes and saucijzenbroodjes, fill our bottles with Bacardi Raz, a chaotic house with face paint on the table, glasses that would trip, and Carnaval’s music blasting through the speakers. It’s a tradition that fills my heart with joy.

This year we gathered just like we used to at my parents' home, we face painted, dressed up, ran around, and ate our (vegetarian, some things do change) worsten- and saucijzenbroodje, we filled our bottles with Bacardi Raz (something I only ever drink with Carnaval), and we walked into the city center. This aspect of the day is the moment that I enjoy most, I relived old memories while making new ones. The childlike excitement filled me, and with a big smile on my face, we entered the surrealistic world of Carnaval. I live in Rotterdam; I only go back to Maastricht once in a while, but with Carnaval, I’m almost always there. Obviously, this doesn’t only apply to me, but to many others that have left Maastricht to return to the tradition. It’s the one time in the year that I bump into people I haven’t seen in years. Reminiscing about days that belong to the past. Maastricht is a city that isn’t that big, so people that are more or less the same age and went out during their teens know, or at least recognise each other somewhere on a random corner of the street. So when people saw me, they would say, oh yeah, where’s Inge?, or you were always with the three of you. It’s this girlish group band idea that was so apparent in my teens, a sense of belonging to a group and to a bigger community that makes me smile. That makes Maastricht feel like home to me.


When I zoom out a bit, it made me realise how important traditions are. How they bring people together and build upon something old that makes it grow even stronger. It made me realise that also in my everyday and working life, I want to cultivate little traditions to celebrate the special moments even more. It doesn’t have to be a big event like Carnaval, but to cherish the small moments together, to grow and strengthen through shared experiences.

Carnaval teaches me that life doesn’t always have to be so serious, that regardless of age, gender, or education, everyone has that inner child within them. That little goofy persona that comes out once in a while. This childish excitement makes me bubbly, makes me want to dance in the street, which I did, but normally don’t. So after this Carnaval, I invite myself, but you, my dear reader as well, to cherish or start new traditions and to bring your goofy you to the table once in a while, to lighten up your day and maybe even dance in the streets.