Carnival in Düsseldorf , © Düsseldorf Tourismus GmbH/ Jörg Letz


Kisses, sweets and tie-cut­ting

There is always plenty going on across North Rhine-Westphalia during the Carnival. To help you keep track of events, you will find a selection of the highlights taking place across North Rhine-Westphalia during the Carnival season 2023 here: In Bonn, „Weiberfastnacht“ is the kick off for street carnival, Cologne, with its 200 years of carnival tradition, is one of most popular places for „Narren“ (costumed fools), and in Düsseldorf and Aachen, especially many families parade through the streets in costumes on special days. Even if you haven’t got a clue about the customs or don’t know the lyrics to the songs, you can just dive in head-first and have a great time anyway.

Carnival Cologne, © Dieter Jacobi, Köln Tourismus

Co­logne: The Great Car­ni­val Clas­sic

Car­ni­val strong­hold for 200 years

One of the largest and most famous carnival events world-wide, the Cologne Carnival or “Fastelovend”, as it is called in the Cologne dialect, is almost as old as the city itself. However, the Cologne “Jecken”, a synonym for carnival lovers, only started to organise their celebrations in the current manner about 200 years ago.  As every year the highlight of all the cheerful hustle and bustle will be the Rose Monday Parade on the 3 March 2025. |

Group in confetti costume at the Düsseldorf Carnival, © Düsseldorf Tourismus /U.Otte

Düs­sel­dorf: Cel­eb­rate with the Hop­ped­itz

Street car­ni­val on König­sallee

Before the Carnival in the state capital reaches its culmination with the Rose Monday procession on 3 March 2025 the informal ‘Kö-Treiben’ (event on the Königsallee) on 2 March provides an opportunity for some lively celebrations. Several hundred people gather together on the boulevard from 11:11, in fancy dress of course. Many bring their own music and food with them, some bringing decorative handcarts as a means of transporting them.


Group on the Rose Monday parade in Bonn, © Michael Sonndermann / Bundesstadt Bonn

Bonn: Bützje from the Laun­dry Prin­cess

Storm­ing of the town hall marks the start of the street Car­ni­val

The ‘Weiberfastnacht’ (Women’s Carnival Day) marks the start of the festivities: on 16 February 2023, there is nothing for the men to laugh about – and they have no say – at the various Carnival strongholds. They give away their power (and parts of their ties), at best receiving a kiss in return. This tradition began in Bonn: in 1824, the Bonn-Beueler washerwomen banded together to seek inclusion in the Carnival which had been reserved for men only until that point. Today, the storming of the town hall by the laundry princess marks the start of the street Carnival as well as being one of Bonn’s key attractions. 

Karneval in Aachen, © aachen tourist service e.v., A. Steindl

Aachen Spe­cial­ises in Chil­dren’s Car­ni­val

Fant­ast­ic cos­tumes for young and old

The Children’s Carnival in Aachen is a big event and has a long-standing tradition. The Aachen Children’s Costume Carnival takes place on every Carnival Sunday and was first held before the Second World War. Some 120 different groups are parading through Aachen every year. Around one third of them are schools and kindergartens along with 15 marching bands. The remainder consist of private groups, institutions and Carnival societies. The Rose Monday procession is undoubtedly the highlight of the year and much anticipated by all Carnival-goers. The procession extends over approx. 5 km and involves over 170 associations presenting their distinctive costumes and imaginatively designed floats.

  • Rose Monday procession in aachen, © - Andreas Herrmann
    Music band on carnival parade in Cologne, © Dieter Jacobi /Köln Tourismus
    Rose Monday procession in Düsseldorf, © DMT
  • Dog in costume at the Cologne Carnival, © Dieter Jacobi /Köln Tourismus
    Funkemariechen at the Cologne Carnival, © Dieter Jacobi /Köln Tourismus
    Düsseldorf Carnival: Couple in Baroque Costume, © Düsseldorf Tourismus /Jörg Letz

Car­ni­val for be­gin­ners

What you need to know about this fant­ast­ic event in the Rhine­land.

Read more