Maybe no Sinterklaas arrival if foundation wins anti-Zwarte Piet lawsuit, Zaanstad says

Sinterklaas_zwarte_piet Michell Zappa Wikimedia commons

The municipality of Zaanstad fears that the Sinterklaas's national arrival on Saturday will have to be canceled if the court rules in favor of the Majority Perspective foundation in summary proceedings the foundation filed. The foundation did not ask for the celebration to be banned outright, as previously reported, but demands that the Zwarte Piet characters be stripped of all stereotypical characteristics and behaviors that they consider racist, reports.

In court on Tuesday it became clear that Majority Foundation wants all Piet characters to wear no makeup, including soot marks. The clothing must be adjusted and the Pieten must not play a subservient role. The court will rule on these demands at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Sinterklaas is scheduled to make his national arrival in Zaandam, in the municipality of Zaastad, on Saturday. According to the municipality's lawyer, if the court rules in the foundation's favor, the organizers of the event will have too little time to implement these changes and adjust the program. The lawyer thinks the foundation deliberately waited for the last minute to file the summary proceedings. 

The municipality stressed that a 'Chimney Piet' policy is being used for the national arrival, following broadcaster NTR's Sinterklaasjournaal. The first episode of the kids show on Monday featured one Piet in full blackface makeup. The rest had only soot marks on their faces. As the Pieten go through the chimney they get covered in soot, according to the broadcaster. They more often they do so, the blacker they get. 

Zaanstad's lawyer added that the character of Zwarte Piet was adjusted over the past years. The clothes changed and the Zwarte Pieten no longer have frizzy hair. The municipality also offered room for discussion before the arrival, according to the lawyer.

Volunteer organizations also participate in the arrival. While the NTR asked them to follow the Sinterklaasjournaal's lead, they can decide for themselves what their Zwarte Pieten will look like.