Since the 11th of the 11th (11 November), the traditional opening of the Carnival season, the spirit of Carnival has been making its way through the city and everyone has been hard at work on their costumes, materials, and floats for the big Carnival parade on Carnival Sunday. While local residents will already know this, visitors should be informed that certain businesses and institutions will have adjusted opening hours during Carnival. Many of the businesses, museums, cultural institutions, and shops will be closed over this period. But don't worry, on the Sunday and Monday you can watch the cheerful Carnival parades that make their way through the city. 

Fun facts

For the locals, Carnival is a special occasion and a great deal of care and attention goes into the making of the costumes, called pekskes in the local dialect, and perfecting the make-up. The most beautiful creations will be on display on the streets or can be seen during the Carnival parades. As the Maastricht Carnival, in true Rhineland tradition, is mostly celebrated outside in the streets, the city has been completely decorated in the three official colours: red, yellow, and green. The Carnival bands the Zate Hermeniekes (literally tipsy brass bands) can be found on every corner and will entertain the entire city with the merry music and atmosphere of Carnival.

Opening times Carnival

Sunday 23 February   Shops closed *
Monday 24 February   Shops closed *
Tuesday 25 February   Shops closed *

Shops closed except for supermarkets and carnival shops. The Maastricht Visitor Center will be open from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Carnival terminology

De elfde-van-de-elfde (the eleventh of the eleventh
The day of celebration on 11 November on which the Carnival season is officially opened.

Prins Carnaval (Prince Carnival
The ‘prince of fools’. The Carnival Prince of Maastricht is selected in secret every year by a triumvirate of the Kanzelarij raod (protocol committee) of the De Tempeleers Carnival association. During the proclamation of the Prince, the new Prince is announced and revealed to the masses on Markt square.

Sleuteloverdracht (the Presentation of the Key
The Saturday before Carnival, the Prince is handed the key to the city by the mayor at 3:11 PM. This is a symbolic handing over of the rule of the city to the Prince for the three days of Carnival.

Zate Hermeniekes
They take care of the musical entertainment. Carnival celebrations in Maastricht mostly take place outside in the streets, and this is where the brass bands, called Zate Hermeniekes (literally tipsy brass bands), can be found entertaining the crowds.
The Boonte Störrem Carnival parade
The Carnival parade is organized by the city Carnival association the De Tempeleers, and takes place on Carnival Sunday. The parade is a lively collection of themed floats, brass bands, and Carnival groups and associations.
The traditional Carnival greeting.

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