Zaanstad kids prefer Chimney Piet, ombudsman says

Sooty Piet (Picture: Twitter/@Warda_E) chimney piet. (Chimney Piet (Picture: Twitter/@Warda_E))

Children in Zaanstad see Sinterklaas as a fun family celebration and when it comes to the color of Zwarte Piet, they prefer so-called Chimney Pieten colored black by soot, according to Zaanstad Children's Ombudsman Martien van Does, Het Parool reports.

Van Does spoke to 200 children about Sinterklaas in the run-up to a debate evening on Wednesday about the holy man's national arrival at the Zaanse Schans on November 17th. 

When it comes to the arrival, the most important thing to Zaanstad kids is that we "go crazy, with lots of dancing and music", Van Does said. The kids link the color of Zwarte Piet to the story about Sinterklaas, she added. "And there Zwarte Piet comes through the chimney, so there's a preference for Chimney Pieten."

About a hundred people signed up to take part in the debate evening, which was held behind closed doors, on Wednesday evening, according to the newspaper. They were welcomed by alderman Rita Noordzij, who was standing in for mayor Jan Hamming because he is sick.

According to Noordzij, the municipality is "proud that we have become so visible. Not only the Sint, but the whole of the Netherlands will soon be looking at images of Zaandijk and the Zaanze Schans." 

About Zwarte Piet she said that "the debate is getting harsher, but Zaanstad is a nice place to have it, because our city likes dialogue. This is a good moment to see how tolerant we are."