16 February - 21 February
13 February 2023

What is it all about this festival in red, yellow and green? Carnaval in the Netherlands is a celebration of craziness, of oppositeness, of the switching of what were once normal social roles in society and turning the world on its head. 

You can also join the celebration and you will see that it is secretly one of the most fun parties of the year!

A few highlights in Maastricht Region:

Thursday 16 February Kick off carnaval on Thursday evening with the Auw Wieverbal. The largest are in Sittard (Markt) and in Valkenburg (Walramplein). Women dressed unrecognisably as an 'oud wijf' (old lady) symbolically take over from men and go out alone. 

Saturday 18 February Prinsinhoole Carnavalsgroup: Stichting de Tempeleers in Maastricht will fetch their new Prins Carnaval at the train station around 13:00. From there, a small procession will start at 14:00 towards the Markt (arrival 14:45). There will be set up 'the Mooswief'. A large doll symbolising Vastelaovend in Maastricht. Mooswief means 'vegetable lady'. The Prins will lay a garland at the Mooswief which will allow Vasteloavend to begin! 

At 15:11 starts the Machseuverdrach at the Town Hall (Markt). This is when the mayor of Maastricht hands the city over to Prins Carnaval and craziness ensues.

Sunday 19 February Most of the large parades will be on Sunday. The largest Carnaval parade in Maastricht is De Boonte Störm. Boonte means Bonte (colourful). Featuring major Carnaval groups but also soloists. 

Many towns and villages in limburg organise parades like this for example the Groëete Óptoch Heële in Heerlen, the Waereldsjtadvastelaovesoptoch (City parade) in Geleen and the Groote Optoch Zitterd (Large parade Sittard) in Sittard . 

Tuesday 21 February End your carnaval celebrations in an enchanting way with de Lichtstoet (Light parade) in the city centre of Heerlen. (starting 20:11). During the Light Parade, you can enjoy the most beautiful carnaval floats beautifully lit. 

© Maastricht Marketing /Jean Pierre Geussens