Strao

Straô

Our annual ‘straô’ village festival – pronounced as in ‘wow’ – centres on the washing of horses’ hooves in the sea. Out on the west of Schouwen-Duiveland every village has its own version, but they nearly all feature dressing up the horses with an element of competitive pride – and traditional costumes for the riders. Between mid-February and end March, you’ll come across the fun and its fundamental folklore on the island: times vary, in Renesse, Noordwelle, Burgh-Haamstede, Scharendijke, Ellemeet en Serooskerke.

Head ’em up, wash them hooves!

Our Zeeuw equine tradition of ‘straô-rijeen’ (beach riding) dates from 1643, give a temporal hand or two. It sees our sturdy drays leave their winter stables for a stroll down the beach and a refreshing hoof rinse to disinfect any wee wounds or stubborn evil spirits. Rookie riders make up the rear, while the old hands up front get to blow their very own horn, bugle or euphonium. 

In March 2018, the straô was added to the Dutch ‘inventory of intangible cultural heritage’, a coveted national list launched in 2012 when the Netherlands accepted the UNESCO Convention to safeguard the broad phenomenon.

Dates of events

15 February in Renesse from 10:15 am on
22 February in Burgh-Haamstede from 11.30 am on
29 February in Noordwelle from 10.30 am on
7 March in Ellemeet from 11.30 am on
14 March in Scharendijke from 12.00 am on
21 March in Serooskerke from 11.15 am on
Strao