Kids' Zwarte Piet still in blackface; twist suspected

The Sinterklaas festival will again be "old fashioned" this year. The first episode of the Sinterklaasjournaal ended with the Pieten drilling holes in the wall of the steam boat to hang a painting, with water sloshing over their shoes. The Zwarte Pieten all had black faces, like always.

Children's author and avid opponent of Zwarte Piet, Sjoerd Kuyper, is is furious about this. He finds the broadcast "horrific". "Really dumb black people drilling holes in a boat! Surely this can not be? It is medieval, such a caricature. Aiaiai, this I had not expected. That all children in the Netherlands must see this, also the colored, meh. To vomit, really." he said in an interview with Trouw.

Children and adults alike eagerly awaited the broadcast of the Sinterklaasjournaal last night, because of the Zwarte Piet discussion. According to Kuyper, after the broadcast it seemed that the creators of the Sinterklaasjournaal was completely on the side of a traditional Sinterklaas festival. "But I can not imagine that they are so indecent. Maybe there will be a twist, the water will rinse the black of their faces. I sincerely hope so."

In his new book "De vrienden van Sinterklaas" Kuyper completely abolished Zwarte Piet. He was replaced by "friends" - helpers, fathers, mothers, uncles, grandfathers - who have their faces painted in all colors of the rainbow. Kuyper does not think that he is robbing children of a beautiful story by replacing Zwarte Piet. "What do I take away from them? Sinterklaas remains the same. For me that was always the romance: the mysterious man with the white beard who comes to us from Spain. What does it matter who helps him, as long as they are cheerful people?"

If there is a twist and the Pieten are no longer black, this will be the first time that the Sinterklaasjournaal makes a major change. Although the helpers of the Saint have not been called Zwarte Piet in recent years, they have remained black.