16 February 2018 | Category: Student life


By Natalia Giner Laguarda

I am originally from Spain, Valencia. I'm a 23 years old Spa...

If you like singing, drinking and dancing while wearing a colorful outfit, you should have gone to celebrate carnival in the south of The Netherlands.

As a second time in my life, I’ve travelled to the south of our amazing country to enjoy this party. During my Erasmus year, I went to Maastricht to experience this celebration and I liked it so much that I had to repeat this experience again this year. Maastricht gave us an amazing trip, we dressed as a rugby team and we spend the whole entire day dancing in Maastricht.

We were even able to enjoy the views of Maastricht which is actually an amazing city to see (I indeed went back again to spend a weekend to see it, it was really cosy).


Why does Carnival take place?

Carnival (in dutch Carnaval or vastenavond) is a festival that takes place throughout the Netherlands, specially in the Southern regions. This festival was assimilated by the Catholic Church taking elements from old pagan spring festivals and is celebrated during the three entire days preceding the Christian holidays of Ash Wednesday and Lent.[1]

Carnaval is a reversal ritual if you look at it from an anthropological point of view.  In this reverse ritual, behavior norms and social roles are reversed and suspended. Carnaval can be seen as a ritual of passage from darkness (winter) to light (summer), it is actually a fertility celebration: the first spring festival of the new year.

There is nowadays many people that do not relate at all this festival with religion eventhough its date is set before the start of the Christian season of Lent. Carnaval officially begins on Sunday and lasts three days, exactly until the start of Ash Wednesday at midnight. If you travel to the southern part of the Netherlands you will realize that normal daily life is completely absent during these days. Roads are blocked, many local businesses are closed, most of the employees take their days off and the streets are filled of people shouting and dancing.


How was Carnival in Den Bosch?

This time, we decided to organize a group ticket and travel to Den Bosh. We started our day dressing up as lovely pandas and having a huge breakfast.

Many of my friends are known to love to keep them, so we decided to dress as them and we left Wageningen after playing within the trees.

As soon as we arrived to Utrecht station we felt the carnival feeling, everyone was wearing amazing and extremely awkward costumes (exactly as us).

When we arrived to the station we were shocked about the amount of people shouting and singing already in the station, we opened our beers and joined to the amount of people slowly moving through the streets.

Each street was crazy and original in its way, we found a huge pink limousine that Guillermo has to personally enjoy.

There was music in each street but for sure one of our favorite ones was Karrenstraat where we spend probably more than an hour.


We had with us our official panda keeper which was taking care of us (thanks Emma).

We had with us an amazing chicken looking forward to enter to Alber Heijn to find some eggs (he actually did). I might not forget, these costumes are actually the best, even though we thought those could not be more awkward than they actually were, they are extremely warm what makes them perfect for this festivity.

This year, I enjoyed Carnival that much that I will return back there for sure next year, however, next time we might leave Den Bosh sooner so we can pick up the train on time to avoid paying 30 euros for a taxi from Ede to Wageningen 🙁


By Natalia Giner Laguarda

I am originally from Spain, Valencia. I'm a 23 years old Spanish girl who is in love with sports and the sun. I love travelling and running wherever I am. You will find me for sure in Sport Centre de Bongerd as is probably my second house (both the gym and the bar).

I did my biotechnology Bachelor in Valencia and even though I liked it very much, I was still CURIOUS about how far it could go. Hence, I decided to give a shot in The Netherlands and I came three years ago to do my erasmus. Then I came again for my Master's (Biotechnology & Molecular Life Science). Synthetic Biology is by far my favorite field in Biotech, and exploring as much as possible in this field is my goal here.

I would love to share my experiences as an international student to whoever is interested and of course I would be more than happy to solve all your questions :)

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