Sinterklaas to have "motley crew of helpers" on Dutch kids show

Sinterklaas will have a "motley crew of helpers" in the Sinterklaasjournaal this year, NTR announced on Monday. Exactly what these helpers will look like was not announced, and the word 'Piet' was not mentioned once in the press release, NOS reports.

Many Dutch municipalities look to the Sinterklaasjournaal for ques on how to handle Sinterklaas' controversial helper Zwarte Piet. Over the past years there's been much debate in the Netherlands on whether or not to change Zwarte Piet. One side of the debate sees the blackface character as a racist stereotype and a symbol of slavery, the other side considers him an important Dutch tradition that needs to be protected. 

Sinterklaas was accompanied by multi-colored Piets, traditional blackface Piets, and Chimney Piets covered in soot marks from the chimney in the Sinterklaasjournaal over the past years. The broadcaster already announced that the show will not have any multi-colored Piets this year, as they were not successful looking back. 

Famous Piet actors like Dick van den Toorn, John Jones, Joep Onderdelinden, Maarten Wansink and Jeroen Spitzenberger will return to the show, according to NOS. But there will also be new faces, including Gersom Kremer, Frederik Brom, Aaron Wan, Harry Piekema, Mimoun Ouled Radi and Abbey Hoes. Like every year, Dieuwertje Blok will present the show and Jeroen Kramer will go into the country as reporter. This year he will have a new colleague - Charlie Chan Dagelet. 

The first episode of the Sinterklaasjournaal will show on Monday, November 13th on NPO3 at 6:00 p.m. 

The national arrival of Sinterklaas is happening in Dokkum, Friesland this year on November 18th