40 Years Summer Carnival

July 13, 2024 – Oct. 13, 2024
The exhibition 40 Years Summer Carnival at Kunsthal Rotterdam marks the 40th anniversary of one of the largest and most exuberant celebrations in the Netherlands. Each year over 2,500 dancers, 25 carnival groups, and numerous floats liven up the centre of Rotterdam during the street parade, which also includes the presentation of the traditionally elected royalty: the Queen and — since 2022 — King. On the basis of photographs, videos, music, posters, and extravagant carnival costumes, the exhibition guides you through the history of this festive event.

In 1982, the first Summer Carnival celebrated in the Netherlands was an Antillean carnival in Utrecht. Two years later, the Summer Carnival found a new home in Rotterdam, where it evolved into a multicultural celebration. Today, groups from twenty five different cultural backgrounds are annually taking part in this colourful event. The Rotterdam Summer Carnival archive serves as the point of departure for this anniversary exhibition that is realised in collaboration with Rotterdam Unlimited Zomercarnaval. The exhibition at the Kunsthal connects past and present, and showcases the community’s creativity as the driving force behind the event.

Friday Night LIVE x Rotterdam Unlimted Zomercarnaval 

Each third Friday of the month, the Kunsthal is offering a Rotterdam cultural partner a podium to organise a dazzling evening programme called Friday Night LIVE. On Friday 19 July, Rotterdam Unlimited Zomercarnaval (Rotterdam Unlimited Summer Carnival) will be put in charge. Between 17:00 and 22:00 hrs, visitors are welcome at the Kunsthal for bites&drinks, music&performances and above all for a provocative and inspiring programme infused with a generous dose of art. More nformation about Friday Night LIVE can be found here.

About Rotterdam Summer Carnival 

The organisation of the Summer Carnival is the responsibility of the Stichting Zomercarnaval and Bureau Vermaeck, united under the name Rotterdam Unlimited Zomercarnaval (Rotterdam Unlimited Summer Carnival). The aim of the Summer Carnival is to bring people from many different cultures together through tropical carnival expressions, similar to those in the Antilles. The first edition of the event took place in Utrecht in 1982 and 1983, where a number of Antillean carnival societies from Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Amsterdam organised a parade on the Jaarbeursplein square. Since 1984, the Summer Carnival has been held in Rotterdam where it evolved into an event of great importance to the city. Since December 2023 the Summer Carnival Rotterdam has been added to the international UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This year’s annual Royalty Election will take place on 6 July. The Mercado and the Street Parade will take place on 27 July

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