In the past few weeks I learned that there are two types of Dutch people: the ones who joyfully celebrate the carnival and the ones who hate it with almost the same amount of passion.
What’s all the carnival fuss about after all? It’s probably big for me because, well, it’s the first time to see such things; if the photos didn’t draw a good enough picture of it, I’ll try in a few words (oh, the irony): the carnival is that time of the year when North Brabant goes mad. It’s that time when everybody gets to put on a costume and party like a maniac not for one but five days in a row! (Take that, Halloween!).
The surprising amount of costume shops in Breda were full weeks ahead of the event. The merchandise ranged from wigs, colored contacts and professional make up, wizard cloaks, medieval dresses and knight swords to anything anyone could come up with like lemon or pizza slice costume.
The great big celebration exploded like a volcano on Friday the 17th and suddenly Breda became the most awesome place to be in! Pretty decorations and lights changed the face of the city, alcohol started to pour in all the forms possible, there was loud Dutch music (from time to time covered by an ambulance alarm) and, despite the occasional bad weather, people were everywhere, animating the atmosphere with exhilaration and the most creative costumes I’ve ever seen!
Everyone is having a good time, the bars are more crowded than the busses in Bucharest at 7:30 in the morning (let the *ahem* “networking” prosper), I’m caught up in the bathroom between three drunk girls trying to explain what my costume is (also, statistics show that most 9gagers of Breda go to Speeltuin ), I have no clue what everyone is singing about but I’ll guess it’s about Mardi gras (what the carnival is also about) and by the midnight the streets are already starting to get cleaned up, the real paramedics are mistaken for people in costumes and the ambulance can’t get through because the street is blocked by the crowd in front of the ATM (no one wants to lose their place that gets them closer to their next drinks), foreigners like me chase people to take pictures with them and thankfully the Dutch are always friendly, especially when you look like a very good support against gravity.
All in all it was great fun for the only two days that I was there. It was a lot to “digest” for a newcomer (although the warm waffle I ate at midnight was delightful), I loved the atmosphere, I saw a new face of Breda the one that can leave everything aside and enjoy the hell out of it!
p.s: To the guy who had the Trollface costume, whoever he is: Respect. Same amount of respect to all who recognized ALLbert. And for the guys who had the guts to dress up like girls.
And this was probably the funniest scene from Saturday evening: