Sinterklaas parades through Amsterdam-Osdorp on camel

Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam-Osdorp on a camel, 18 Nov 2017
Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam-Osdorp on a camel, 18 Nov 2017. (Photo: @CasperLi2010 / Twitter)

Sinterklaas paraded through the Amsterdam neighborhood of Osdorp on Saturday on the back of a camel, instead of a horse, with a drum band playing Arabic music and a barrel organ, Het Parool reports.

The neighborhood parade caused some political backlash - from PVV leader Geert Wilders who called it "sick" on Twitter, and animal party PvdD worried about the welfare of the camel - but according to organizer, 15-year-old Salim, he simply wanted to make it a fun parade for his neighbors to enjoy. 

Salim has been organizing activities in Osdorp aimed at brining neighbors together since he was 11, according to the newspaper. And he decided to organize a Sinterklaas parade three weeks before it happened. "And then it turned out that there was no horse left. All the horses were already booked", he said to Het Parool. He asked one of the renters if they had no alternatives. "The man replied that he did have a white camel. That looked like a funny solution to me."

The boy faced the same problem when trying to find a last-minute band to accompany the parade. "I could only find one that played Christmas carols. Which was impossible of course." Luckily he knows a drum band in the neighborhood, and also managed to find a barrel organ. 

"Everyone is talking about it beng a Moroccan party, but I just wanted to make sure the neighborhood would notice the parade. That people would come outside", Salim said to the newspaper. "Someone even came out in his pajamas and walked along for the whole parade. Everyone laughed and liked it."

He also added that he got a permit for using the camel, and cared well for the animal. "He did not even have to go onto his knees, because there was a step for the Sint. There was also enough water and food and he only walked around the neighborhood for half an hour."