By: Steve Dellar | 11-17-2018 | News
Photo credit: Algemeen Dagblad Screenshot.png

Holland - Saint Nicholas Season Start Sees 'Black Pete' Demonstrations

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Children in Holland, Belgium and Germany grew up with the figure of Saint Nicholas instead of the US’s Santa Claus. And instead of being helped by elves and reindeer to deliver toys to children like Santa, Saint Nicholas was helped by ‘Black Pete’ and came ‘by steamboat from Spain.’

As the tradition grew and people started having more financial means in the 1950s, toy makers and candy producers started getting into the tradition as well. It became a goldmine for toy makers when the introduction of Santa Claus meant that children in the richer countries of Western Europe received 2 gifts at the end of the year from their well-off parents.

One on 6 December for Saint Nicholas and one on 25 December for Christmas to help them pass winter more easily.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sint en Piet<br>intocht van Sinterklaas <br>The festivities traditionally begin each year in mid-November when Sinterklaas &quot;arrives&quot; by a steamboat at a designated seaside town, supposedly from Spain. This year they will arrive in Zaandijk. <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dutch</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Internationals</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Expats</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#learnDutch</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Loretty Lourens (@MyDutchLessons) <a href="">November 17, 2018</a></blockquote>

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However, the fact that the Saint Nicholas helpers, the figures known as ‘black Pete’ (or Zwarte Piet in Dutch) were played by white people in blackface, a tradition that has stuck ever since, was perceived as racism in the past years means that more and more public figures have spoken out against it. A majority of the Dutch population still supports the tradition though.

This year as well, multiple protests are planned by the organization to “Kick Out Zwarte Piet.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Today is the day that Sinterklaas and his Black Petes arrive. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; ✈Infernal✈Bloompf✈Habibi✈ (@Jetta_Grijns) <a href="">November 17, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Certainly, today will see many protests as it is the weekend when Saint Nicholas as per the legend arrives in the Netherlands by steamboat from Spain with his helpers. The story goes that Saint Nicholas spends the year in Spain and brings fruit. Which is why in the 1950s and 1960s he brought oranges from Spain when people didn’t have the financial means yet to afford toys for their children.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">It were Dutch and German immigrants, that introduced the festivity of &quot;Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet&quot; to the USA.<br>With commercials of Coca Cola,and movies,it became the &quot;cleaned-up&quot; US festivity of Santaclaus.<br>Cleaned up,because of the racial connotation in the USA of &quot;blackfacing&quot;.</p>&mdash; J.A. Broersma (@JohnnyBG19) <a href="">November 17, 2018</a></blockquote>

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As per the demand of the Dutch government, who understands the commotion but does not want to see a feast for children marred by demonstrations, the Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) organization cannot protest at the ship’s arrival place but can hold demonstrations in Den Haag, Rotterdam, Dokkum, Groningen, Eindhoven, Apeldoorn, Den Helder, Weesp and Maassluis.


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Thoughts on the above story? Comment below!
6 Comment/s
marilyn No. 42549 2018-11-17 : 13:32

People often consider that blacks were the only group that suffered under racism and slavery. No one ever mentions the serfs in Ireland brought about by French and Belgium immigrants. . The USA had many Irish who fled to our shores in our early years. We welcomed them…

Anonymous No. 42553 2018-11-17 : 14:03

Faith and begorrah, tis another potato famine.

Anonymous No. 42554 2018-11-17 : 14:14

white be devils made by yakub

Anonymous No. 42558 2018-11-17 : 14:23

We've got to fight racism by banning Black people!

Anonymous No. 42560 2018-11-17 : 14:24

So, you have a problem with Schwarte Piet? Can you explain why or is this just because you think you should. Do you know the story?

Anonymous No. 42595 2018-11-17 : 21:01

Some annotations: Saint Nicholas is mainly celebrated in The Netherlands and Belgium, and in another way in Austria and less in Germany.

Second: the celebration itself is on the evening of December 5th.

t. Dutchman

My thoughts: a tiny part of the population is upset about it, but they are very vocal. The trend to "fight racism" has blown over from the US, and only since a few years has this really been a "problem". Many Dutchmen are pro-Black Pete, and see this just as a way to piss in everyone's cornflakes, and mainly children's.

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