Dutch term – Kermis

The kermis is the carnival. Most towns have a carnival once of twice a year.

The kermis was traditionally a time of courtship, where young folks got together. Some areas had a fair, where young women would line up and young men would select the girl of their choice to take to the carnival and to walk her home at the end of the night.

Sometimes they had such a good time that a hasty marriage was scheduled soon afterwards 😉 If your ancestors had a baby within seven months of their marriage, it is worth checking the local newspapers to see if there was a carnival in town a few months earlier.

Dutch women in traditional costume in a carousel

Credits: unknown photographer, 1932. Collection Rijksmuseum (Public Domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a board-certified genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 30 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Judd Zandstra says

    Do they still have carnivals? Maybe I should send my daughter> 😉

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