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Carnival flags (The Netherlands)

Last modified: 2018-12-15 by rob raeside
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Carnival flags

I am a British ex-pat, working in Maastricht, and living in Utrecht. As I spend so much time in Maastricht, I can't help noticing all the red/yellow/green flags at this time of year. Also, Den Bosch (in the station anyway) has red/white/yellow flags.
Is this a common thing at Carnival time? Are these flags listed anywhere? Why the colours chosen?
Kevin Garrad, 14 Feb 2006

During carnival Maastricht has another mayor (Prince Carnival) and another flag, which consists of course of the colors of the carnival festivities: red, yellow and green. These colors return in the costumes of the "zaate herremeniekes" (small bands of carnival-musicians, mostly not walking in a straight line) and other participants in the fun.
The village (sic!) of Oeteldonk (= the name of 's-Hertogenbosch in carnival-times) has its own arms and flag, in the colors red-white-yellow".
Stefan Lambrechts, 16 Feb 2006

The carnival-colors of Eindhoven are orange/blue/orange.
Jan Melssen, 16 Feb 2006

Carnival is, and will stay, a local festivity, only established from the old use to eat and drink (!) and dance a lot on the eve of 40-days Lent (Fast).
Nowadays it has grown to a rang of festivities of 14 or more days (and nights!) until the Wednesday of Lent, when everything is over. There are a few more Dutch towns which have Carnival flags. Some have a great past of Carnival festivities and their flags are firmly established: for example 's-Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc, Herzogenbusch) alias Oeteldonk. An other old town with Carnivalfestivities is Bergen op Zoom, alias Krabbengat. There is a local Carnival flag: white, whith red borders at the top and at the bottom, and a green stripe at the fly. In the centre a great round emblem.
An other, younger town is Roosendaal (east of Bergen op Zoom). They have a diagonally parted flag of white and red with a rather wasted form of the official coat of the Roosendaal arms in the centre. This was also introduced last year. There is also an unofficially Carnival flag you see there quite often. It consists of 4 or more red, white dotted handkerchiefs, with borders of diverse patterns of red, white and black. Because there is no central institute to regulate Carnival, these flags have no tradition and are unofficial.
Willem van Ham, 17 Feb 2006

During carnival the Limburg flag-colors are red, yellow and green, see for instance the carnival-flag of Weert.
Mark Sensen, 21 Feb 2006


[Oeteldonk Carnival flag]Ivan Sache, 27 Aug 2016

The Oeteldonk carnival was first organized in 1882 in s'-Hertogenbosch, reviving a local tradition documented since the Middle Ages. The rules of the carnival were prescribed by the Oeteldonksche Club, established on 1 October 1882 and still organizing the event under the updated name of Oeteldonksche Club van 1882. For three days, the fluent town of s'-Hertogenbosch becomes the farmer's village of Oeteldonk, ruled by Mayor Peer vaan den Muggenheuvel tot den Bobberd, a character invented on 6 February 1882. The next year, the Oeteldonksche Club invented the second most important character of the carnival, Prince Amadeiro. The visit of the prince starts from the railway station - renamed lie all the official buildings in the carnival's idiolect, with a huge street parade involving floats and thousands of masked and costumed participants. The prince was invented on 5 February 1883 under the full name of Zijne Koninklijke Hoogheid Prins Amadeiro, Ricosto de carnavallo, Heer en Meester van Oeteldonk en omliggende watervrije moerassen (His Royal Highness Prince Amadeiro, Ricosto de carnavallo, Lord and Ruler of Oeteldonk and the surrounding water-free marshes), subsequently increased to Koninklijke Hoogheid Prins Amadeiro, Ricosto di carnavallo, Ridder van het Reksam, Heer en Meester van Oeteldonk en deszelfs omliggende watervrije moerassen en zandwoestijnen, enz., enz., enz (His Royal Highness Prince Amadeiro, Knight of Reksam, Ricosto de carnavallo, Lord and Ruler of Oeteldonk and the surrounding water-free marshes and sand deserts, etc., etc., etc.). Amadeiro XXV, the current prince, was crowned in 2008.

The flag of Oeteldonk is horizontally divided red-white-yellow. The origin of the colours, unknown, is lost in the midst of times. The painting "The Fight Between Carnival and Lent" (1559), by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c. 1525-1569), is a vivid representation of the every day's life in Den Bosch at the time; Carnival is represented on the painting's left while Lent is represented on its right. In the lower part of the painting, a man holds a flag horizontally divided red-yellow-white, which is the oldest known representation of a flag associated with the Den Bosch carnival. The modern arrangement of the colours was first used in 1911.
Ivan Sache, 27 Aug 2016