Dutch Language Blog

The Stadprins is elected! Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Culture

On Sunday, the 18th of January was the official day to elect the Prins van Carnaval (Prince of Carnival – Mardi Gras in Europe, which is also called vastelaovond in the Dutch province Limburg). This person symbolically reigns over the city during the days of Carnival, which is this year from Saturday, February 14 until Wednesday, February 18.

One of the two Zaate Hermeniekes (Dweilorkesten) that go through the city and play a lot of music!

One of the two Zaate Hermeniekes (Dweilorkesten) that went through the city on Sunday, that played a lot of music!

In Maastricht, the city I live in, the celebrations were crazy on Sunday! More than 15,000 people gathered at the Markt, one of the two large squares of the city to see the election of the prince.

As general practice, the prince is elected out of the carnavalsvereniging (Carnival association) that organizes Carnaval. In this city, that is De Tempeleers, which for some time claimed to be the oldest vereniging of the Netherlands. However, Jocus, which organizes the celebrations in Venlo also claims the throne. The latter is now considered the oldest one.

The Maastricht Carnaval was organized by Momus, the original vereniging of the city. After the Second World War, De Tempeleers replaced them.

So who became the prince?

Odin Wijnhoven! His title is Odin d’n Ierste (Odin the first), and is called the Ziene Hoegen Hoeglöstegheid (His High Mirthness) in the dialect of Maastricht (Meestreech).

The mayor of Maastricht hands over the stadssleutel (city key) to him on the first day of Carnaval, with the symbolic meaning of giving him the power over the city for the days of Carnaval. Then, the association of the prince, De Tempeleers, satirize local politics. Especially this year it could get very interesting, as mayor Onno Hoes announced his resignation just a few weeks ago due to various scandals. However, during the time of the Catholic party, he is still the mayor.

Here is a scene shortly before the sleuteloverdracht (key transfer) in 2014. The Prins almost arrived at the Gemeentehuis (town hall) on the Markt. The person before Prins Henri d’n Ierste on the caris his nar (jester).

I myself have never celebrated Carnaval, as I am from the nothern part of the Netherlands. There, we barely celebrate it. So to me, this is a completely new thing! Here, in the south, they are totally into it… What do you think about Carnaval? Have you celebrated it before? Is it great fun? Or is it just a huge waste of time?

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.