Carnaval in Maastricht

01-03-2019 - 05-03-2019


It is almost time, Maastricht will once again turn roed (red), geel (yellow) and greun (green). This year Carnaval is the first weekend of March (3-5 March).


What is Carnaval?

Carnaval is in Maastricht better known as Vasteloavend. Originally, Carnaval is a Catholic party. Celebrations start the three days before Ash Wednesday. Therefore, Carnaval can begin as early as 1 February and the latest on 9 March. The first day of Carnaval is six weeks before Easter Sunday and the festivities last for three days. Nowadays the relation with religion has become less prominent. The core of modern day Carnaval revolves around role reversal with a socially critical function, as well as having fun with friends and family.


Traditionally, the Carnival season starts on the 11th of the 11th month (November). This number signifies the zot (crazy person). People in their craziest outfits and costumes fill the Vrijthof square in Maastricht. The next day, all turns normal because until the Carnaval season starts you will not see these costumes again. In 2019, this is 3 March.


During Carnaval, the focus is on the costume. Many of these outfit required a lot of commitment, effort and time. You will not know where to look, as you will see the most exquisite and elaborate handmade pekskes.


Program 2019
A small overview of the program in Maastricht. More information on

Sunday, March 3
At 10:33 h, the Prince's Flag is raised, and at 12:11h, 11 cannon shots indicate the start of Carnaval. At 13:33h, the big parade starts processing through the city centre.

Monday, March 4
Carnival Monday is Family Day in Maastricht, with a family parade at 14:22h. The start is in the Hoogbrugstraat (Wyck).

Tuesday, March 5
Parade the Zate Hermeniekes Concours passes by throughout the day, starting at 14:11h. For the children, there is a costume contest in de Sterzaal at 14:33h.


During Carnaval, all shops including the Holland Expat Center South Maastricht are closed. The only exception are the supermarkets and carnival shops, however these might have different opening hours.


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