Jan Haverman dressed up as a hotdog
No carnival, what now?
Once in his life, Jan Haverman, second-year student of European Studies, went skiing at carnival. “My family and friends never forgave me for that,” he laughs. “They still comment on that, even now.” Normally, Haverman starts carnival on Thursday and has his last beer on Tuesday.
In addition to the alcohol, celebrating carnival is in his blood too. Even at a young age, he went into town with his parents. His older brother is a keen celebrator. He even wrote a couple of “very unsuccessful” carnival songs, Haverman laughs. But as unsuccessful as his hits were, so successful are his brother’s Saturday parties. What started as get-togethers in his parents’ back garden with beer on tap and some friends expanded into ‘Haverman’s Pub’: a well-known party in the south of Breda, which now attracts up to a thousand people.
Haverman doesn’t regret his skiing holiday, but in Austria he did feel like he was missing out on something. This is another thing that runs in the family. At some stage, his other brother worked as a doctor in South Africa for a while and he sent his father a message: “I don’t seem to be able to make ends meet with my money this month.” Dad sent him money and a couple of days later his brother was at the front door. “He had used the money to buy an airline ticket so that he could come and celebrate carnival.”
What exactly is that carnival feeling? “It is six days of the year that you don’t have to take life too serious. The biggest problem is confetti in your beer. It is a release of the whole year. Celebrating life together. It is often cold, so it is cosy to be close to each other in a crazy outfit drinking beer in a sweaty pub while listening to poor music.” Since he started studying, it is also an opportunity see his friends again. “Many of them went to study in the West of the country, but they all come back to Breda to party together.”
Haverman is fed up with the fact that it has been cancelled this year, but he is matter-of-fact about it. “It is logical that it can’t happen now. We were actually lucky that it could go ahead last year. The longing is only going to get greater. If it goes ahead next year, we will be even happier with the party.”
He will spend this weekend with his housemates in a house in Zeeland instead of in a sweaty pub. “We will most likely put on some carnival music and drink a beer. Then I will close my eyes and ‘dream’ about a crowded pub,” he laughs.