Rotterdam Cultural Histories #5 features Robert De Hartogh’s photos of the first Rotterdam Zomercarnaval (Summer Carnival) in 1984. The pictures show the birth of a unique explosion of creativity in which the cultural, economic, social, and political ideas about the city come together. The Summer Carnival was held for the first time in 1984 and attracted more than 15,000 visitors. Now, more than thirty years later and with more than 750,000 visitors, the Summer Carnival’s parade is regarded as one of the biggest events in the Netherlands, and it has always remained true to its Caribbean roots. De Hartogh’s photos of the Summer Carnival’s early years show a new and colourful Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Cultural Histories is a collaborative project between TENT and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art that explores our common roots in Rotterdam and articulates meeting points between both of our programs. Rotterdam Cultural Histories is conceived by Mariette Dölle (Artistic Director, TENT) and Defne Ayas (Director of Witte de With). This fifth edition is curated by Mariette Dölle in collaboration with Robert de Hartogh, in the context of the exhibitions On The Other Side Of Reality at TENT and NO HUMANS INVOLVED at Witte de With.

—With Thanks To:

Concept and research: Mariette Dölle, Robert de Hartogh
Images and archive material: Robert de Hartogh
Graphic design: Rick Vermeulen
Special thanks to: Stichting Zomercarnaval, Karel Willems, Stadsarchief Rotterdam