"F rom the moment I was born, my family immersed me in carnival, so I learned to dance before I could properly walk," begins Rossini van Wijk. He epitomizes an Aruban with carnival deeply rooted in his heart.

Despite living 21 years away from his native island of Aruba, there hasn't been a moment he hasn't promoted, praised, and shared special moments from the history of Aruba's carnival. Whether preparing queens for international competitions, designing carnival costumes, or sharing posts on social media that take us back in time to special carnival moments, he constantly showcases Aruba's love for carnival and reminds us of an important part of our culture and identity. In his unique way, Rossini represents a perfect VOICE OF OUR LAND.

"Upon moving to the Netherlands, I studied at the Amsterdamse ToneelSchool, and I also learned about design, makeup, photography, runway walking, dressmanship, Art & Fashion History, Materials & Choreography." Thus, a love for design was added to his passion for carnival, creating the perfect skill set for Rossini. With this ideal skill set, he has designed countless costumes for Aruba's Carnival. From complete groups to individuals, singers, and Carnival Queens. "To this day, I still design for Aruba's sweet Carnival. From the Netherlands, I have designed for individuals and sections for Carnival 70." The recent rise of talented designers he now sees is a joy, watching a new generation contribute their talent to Aruba's Carnival.

All the work Rossini has done, despite being far from Aruba, shows that neither distance nor time has diminished his fervor for Aruba's Carnival; instead, it has become a lifestyle for him. His designs have caught attention in the Netherlands, resulting in collaborations with fashion agencies and beauty contest directors to design and create National Costumes. Rossini has sent national costumes not only to the Netherlands but also to Aruba, Curaçao, Belgium, Luxembourg, and even France, achieving victory in the Best National Costume category for the Netherlands no less than nine times. The latest was in July 2023 during the Mrs. Netherlands Universe contest, crediting designer Rossini van Wijk from Aruba.

For over 23 years, Rossini has led the purely Aruban Carnival group, Kingdoms Under The Sun, in the Netherlands, achieving recognition and top positions in competitions held. "Our group almost always finishes in first, second, or third place," he says with great pride. Like the queens he sends to carnival in the Netherlands, they always win or rank, thus exceptionally representing Aruba's Carnival internationally. Always the queens are born in Aruba or of Aruban descent. "I am too proud of our island to love."

Through the International Carnival Organization (FECC), introduced by his cousin Marcia Stamper in 2006, Rossini has traveled across Europe, showing the energy of Aruba's Carnival. His efforts have elevated Aruba as a desired destination for many in countries like Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, and further afield, uplifting Aruba. "My queen Imara Thomas became Queen of Carnival in the Netherlands and then International Carnival Queen in France. The following year was Marcie de Jongh who did the same in Montenegro and the next year Gishlaine Paula won Best Costume in Serbia. Of course, we are also present in Spain, England, France, Belgium, and Germany. Now in all these countries, Aruba's flag is known."

Rossini says that before 2009, Aruba's flag was unknown in England, London, known for having Europe's largest carnival with over 4 million people. "Together with my queen Emily Burkley, we introduced our beautiful flag among all the others from the Caribbean." His work has been recognized with the Carnival Merit Medal and the Jubilee Medal from the FECC (Federation of European Carnival Cities), among others, highlighting his dedication to promoting Aruba's Carnival globally. He was also honored in Spain and received recognition from Aruba's Minister of Culture and Finance, Xiomara Maduro, for his contributions.

Today, Rossini continues to promote Aruba's Carnival wherever he goes. This year, he even sent Mrs. Carnival Aruba, Zahair Marin, to compete internationally, with the goal of further expanding the presence of Aruba's Carnival. Among his work is designing National Costumes for queens and providing etiquette lessons throughout Europe to queens and kings, he shows consistency and value in sharing his knowledge and talents. His commitment is one; to always keep himself busy, as long as he lives, promoting the carnival of Aruba that is in his heart. "After Us, it's Us again," he concludes, highlighting his eternal love for the cultural richness of Aruba.