11/11 - the start of carnival
Now that Halloween season has ended some of you might already be in Christmas mood. In the Netherlands, however, the next festive occasion is ”de elfde van the elfde”, the start of Carnival on the 11th of November.
Every year on the 11th of November a council of eleven meets up to discuss the upcoming carnival season. In cities like Maastricht, Den Bosch and Bergen op Zoom people gather in the center at 11:11 pm to count down and celebrate together. It is mostly tradition in southern parts of the Netherlands and often the Carnival Prince gets introduced as well.
Why the Number 11 ,in Dutch 11 is referred to as the ‘gekkengetal’ which directly translates to ‘crazy number’ crazy right! Dutchies still debate over why specifically this date, but as long as there’s food and a party I’m in.
Before attending carnival in towns and cities throughout the Netherlands we recommend you to do your research on what costumes to wear. It is often expected to wear certain colors or items like a hanker chief around your neck for example. This differs from city to city and if you do not stick to it, you might not be allowed into clubs. So we suggest talking to locals before getting ready.
Don’t forget about our dear friend Marktplaats, get your costume on a budget, and if you’re lucky you could also get it for free.
Carnival in February
The actual carnival celebrations take place next year. They start on Sunday the 19th of February 2023 and end on Tuesday the 21st of February. You can attend parades and parties in most Dutch cities and towns, especially in the south around the provinces of North Brabant and Limburg.
We hope you have a better insight in the Dutch tradition of celebrating on the 11th of November. It might be a culture shock at first, but you will hopefully realise how fun it is. If you’re going to be travelling make sure to check out 3 ways to save money traveling in the Netherlands.