een vrouw verkleed met een gekleurd verenpak en een trompet in haar handen


There's no celebration in Maastricht quite like carnaval (Dutch carnival), or Mestreechter Vastelaovend as it's known locally. This five-day festival is a whirlwind of parades, live music, and traditional carnaval activities, with the straatcarnaval (street carnival) as its most prominent and celebrated aspect.

New cup system

Wagon or float registration

Wagons and floats brought into the city by enthusiastic participants are a key feature of Maastricht's straatcarnaval (street carnival). Planning to bring your wagon or float? Depending on its size, you might need to register in advance.

  • You won't need to register or apply for a permit. Please do follow the rules for wagons and floats listed below. Would you like to receive updates about ? Send an e-mail to evenementen [at] (evenementen[at]maastricht[dot]nl).

  • You could register your wagon or float until Tuesday, 30 January 2024 and submit your preferred spot. Haven't registered your vehicle yet? Email evenementen [at] (evenementen[at]maastricht[dot]nl) We will then send you all the rules for carnival floats and wagons and look at the possibilities.

Rules for wagons and floats

We ask you to ...

  1. ... be considerate and responsible. It all starts with respect and decency.
  2. ... be respectful of traditions and cultural elements like the Mooswief (patroness of carnaval in Maastricht) and zate hermeniekes (marching bands).
  3. ... keep it down after 1.00 and after 23.30 on Tuesday.
  4. ... move aside for police, fire, and ambulance services.
  5. ... handle equipment and oxygen bottles with care. Don't carry too much fuel on board and only store fuel in metal containers. Never refill generators near burning objects (e.g. cigarettes) and preferably not in crowded places.
  6. ... don't leave rubbish, glass or sweets on the pavement.
  7. ... make sure you have a fire extinguisher on board with a minimum capacity of 6 litres or kilos.
  8. ... avoid narrow and crowded streets.
  9. ... don't use glass objects on board.
  10. ... keep the volume below 85 decibels, measured at 3 metres distance.
  11. ... spread the word about these guidelines to honour the carnival spirit.

Crowded streets

Wagons and floats aren't allowed in some streets as carnaval can attract large crowds.

Een kaart met daarop in rood de verboden straten aangegeven
    • East Vrijthof (square side accessible)
    • Platielstraat
    • Sint Amorsplein
    • Achter het Vleeshuis
    • Leliestraat
    • Sporenstraat
    • Vijfharingenstraat
    • Heggenstraat
    • Minckeleerstraat
    • Wolfstraat
    • Kersenmarkt
    • Havenstraat
    • Plankstraat
    • Stokstraat
    • Koestraat
    • Cortenstraat
    • Kattenstraat
    • Stenenbrug
    • Square at Sint Pieterstraat/Stenenbrug
    • Mosae Forum

The history of carnaval

Carnaval in Maastricht probably dates back to the early Middle Ages, gaining official status in 1839 with the founding of Sociëteit Momus by the city's elite. This paved the way for more organised celebrations alongside the traditional street and pub festivities.

After World War II, these celebrations merged, largely due to De Tempeleers, a local carnaval association. They continued the traditions of Sociëteit Momus while adding their unique touch, organising events for all ages and social classes. This inclusivity has made the Mestreechter Vastelaovend a city-wide festivity.

Today, carnaval is a key part of Maastricht's cultural fabric. It's celebrated in various ways, both organised and spontaneous, often rooted in centuries-old traditions. For more details on these traditions, check out the Visit Maastricht carnaval page.