Alaaf! Welcome on board the carnival flight

Carnival is bursting into life again! Not only in Lampegat (Eindhoven), Knarregat (Lelystad) and Dwalmdam (Rotterdam), but also at the airport of Gròòtgragtegat (Amsterdam) do we have a thing about carnival. This folk festival is hugely popular all over the world. Every year, flights full of carnival-goers depart from Schiphol. And did you know that we used to have our own carnival association?

Schiphol's own carnival association

In the 1970s, Schiphol had its own carnival association called De Bulder Zoevers. For five years, carnival was celebrated in De Elzenhof sports hall on Loevesteinse Randweg — on the airport grounds! Thousands of people celebrated here and De Bulder Zoevers' carnival council (de Raad van Elf) was always extremely busy. They would also receive invites from many other associations. In the end, the carnival association could no longer be combined with working at the airport and De Bulder Zoevers only celebrated one five-year anniversary.

World heritage in Binche

Here in the northern Netherlands, we aren't exactly experts on carnival. Our southern neighbours, however, have almost turned it into an art from. The carnival in Binche, Belgium, has even been declared world heritage by Unesco! The authentic celebrations here revolve around Gilles of Binche – a folkloric figure with a hat made of ostrich feathers who is said to chase away evil winter spirits. The wonderful traditions and rituals that colour this carnival festival are fascinating.

You can travel from Schiphol to Binche by train, with a change at Brussels.

Biggest carnival in the world

Looking for something bigger than the carnival in Belgium? Consider heading to Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is well known for having the world's greatest carnival. Glittering costumes, fantastic floats and of course lots of samba – Rio is turned upside down during the celebrations. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

You can fly with KLM from Schiphol to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil daily.

Mesmerising masks

The Carnevale di Venezia, the Venice carnival, is an age-old tradition. Originally, this celebration marks the transition from winter to spring and thus Lent to Easter. Because this celebration was for everyone, from the working classes to princes and princesses, everyone wears a mask. This way, everyone is equal. Venice's masks are famous worldwide and have special meanings. Want to discover it for yourself?

Fly from Schiphol to Venice in Italy daily with KLM or easyJet.

Mardi Gras

Carnival is also celebrated in the United States and the Mardi Gras in New Orleans is undoubtedly the best party of the year. The French and Spanish influences are still clearly visible in this city in Louisiana. Mardi Gras literally means 'Fat Tuesday' and is traditionally the last night of carnival. There are parades and parties here too, which you should attend dressed up or at least in the colours purple, green and gold. And don't forget your beaded necklace!

Fly from Schiphol to the United States with Delta Air Lines or United Airlines. At Atlanta, Detroit, New York (JFK), Newark or Houston airports, you can transfer to a flight to New Orleans.

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