Thousands of redheads celebrate at annual festival in the Netherlands

TILBURG, The Netherlands (Reuters) - Thousands of people gathered in the Netherlands this weekend to celebrate their red hair at the annual Redhead Days Festival in the southern town of Tilburg.

Scottish Liam Hunter, 30, told Reuters attending the three-day festival made him feel better about himself. Like many redheads Hunter said he has experienced bullying over his unusual hair colour.

"I don't feel alone anymore, I feel together, a part of something," he said, looking out over the festival grounds, "being here I'm completed".

According to organisers, some 5,000 redheads from different countries visited the festival, which offered workshops on painting, make-up and skin care tips, photo shoots, music and speed meet events.

Redheads make up between 1 and 2 percent of the world’s population, with a higher frequency of between 2 and 6 percent in people with Northern or Northwestern European ancestry.

The Dutch festival started by accident after organiser and amateur painter Bart Rouwenhorst placed an ad in a regional newspaper in 2005 for 15 models with red hair and 150 people responded.

Rouwenhorst, not a redhead himself, decided to take a group picture with everyone who got in touch. That gathering was such a success and got so much attention, that the organisers decided to make it an annual event.

In 2013, the festival entered the Guinness World Records book as the largest gathering of people with natural red hair with 1,672 redheads in the traditional group picture.

(Reporting by Piroschka van de Wouw and Bart Biesemans, writing by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Sharon Singleton)