Summer carnival parade taking over Rotterdam

Rotterdam summer carnival paradeA fiesta of joy, passion and pride. Undeniably, the summer carnival parade is one of the highlights of the Rotterdam festival season.

Exuberant costumes and flashy make-up

Imagine over two thousand exotic dressed peopledancing through the heart of Rotterdam. Proudly wearing exuberant costumes and flashy make-up. Meanwhile, lavishly decorated floats straw stirring, tropical rhythms. Uplifting music fills the streets of the city. Watching it motionless, is hardly an option. It isn’t hard to imagine, is it?

In 1984 a group of students of Antillean origin organized the first edition. At the time, the event attracted around 1500 visitors. Nowadays more than 750,000 people visit the parade. This is one of the biggest outdoor events in the Netherlands. More than 30 groups and floats join this colourful party.

Check our photos and video of the 2016 edition. 

Floats summer carnival parade Rotterdam

Hooray for cultural diversity

The summer carnival parade is part of the Rotterdam Unlimited festivalCelebrating cultural diversity is its recurring theme. Given the turbulent times in which we live, we think this theme is more relevant than ever. Mahatma Gandhi once said:

“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.”

Presumably that’s why the summer carnival parade is on the Dutch Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This annual celebration contributes to the cultural identity. And it reinforces social cohesion.
Celebrating cultural diversity

Tropical outdoor party

Rotterdam Unlimited is a fully-fledged cultural festival. Prior to the parade, national and international musicians rock the stage at various places in town. The spectacular percussion sessions of the Battle of the Drums announce the colorful parade through the heart of Rotterdam, the next day.

The summer carnival parade is a massive tropical outdoor party, over a distance of more than 5 kilometers! So everyone is invited.

Dancers summer carnival parade

Summer carnival parade visitor tools

Held annually in the last week of July.

Edition 2016
  • Start time: 13:00
  • Start site: Blaak
  • Street parade route 
  • Full programme Rotterdam Unlimited Festival

Route summer carnival parade Rotterdam