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Rumba, samba, and calypso
Photo essay: Rotterdam Summer Carnival

Sasan Seifikar
August 2, 2006

The Rotterdam Summer Carnival is a Caribbean Carnival that takes place every July. It is a huge event which attracts many visitors from all over Europe and beyond who come to dance to rumba, samba, and calypso music and to look at the colorful and spectacular costumes and floats in the big street parade >>> Photos

It is really a three day public celebration and a cultural and music festival. On the first day, there is a pre-carnival beach party. On the second day, the warm up to the carnival, there is a battle of bands with 4 bands setting off from different locations in Rotterdam for a live stage in the city center accompanied by large crowds of dancers and merry-makers. On the third and the main day of the carnival, there is a colorful and big street parade which goes through the heart of Rotterdam covering a 5 Km long course. This year the 22nd Rotterdam Summer Carnival parade took place on Saturday 29th of July and it attracted 900,000 people.

The parade is made of a train of tropical dancers, Caribbean orchestras, brass bands, musicians and DJs and floats winding their way through the city. The floats are adapted trucks with giant speakers and platforms where the musicians play and they are followed by the crowds of ordinary people dancing and singing. This year 34 groups and dance schools with a total of 2000 participants from all different cities in Holland participated in the street parade. They were representing the Antilles, Aruba, Cape Verde, Surinam, Curacao, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, among other Caribbean and South American nations

The beautiful dancers and the sounds of live Caribbean music always easily create a public street-party atmosphere. You can easily see the passing parade, wherever you may be on the route. Overall the carnival is always very pleasant, relaxed, sociable, and lots of fun. It is a festive time of costumes, dance, music, and celebration.

--Rotterdam, Netherlands

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Rotterdam Summer Carnival



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