Eindhoven to drop blackface in Sinterklaas party from next year

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Pieten arriving on their steamboat
Sinterklaas and Zwarte Pieten arriving on their steamboat Photo: jehoede/DepositPhotos

From next year Eindhoven will follow the line of the Sinterklaasjournaal and drop blackface Zwarte Pieten from its arrival party, the municipality and Stichting Sint-Nicolaas, the foundation responsible for organizing the Sinterklaas arrival party, announced on Monday. But this year there will still be blackface Zwarte Pieten among the crowd of other-color Pieten at the party, Eindhovens Dagblad reports.

This year the Sinterklaasjournaal will already only have so-called Chimney Pieten - Piet characters with soot marks on their faces instead of the full blackface makeup Zwarte Piet has in his traditional form, broadcaster NTR previously announced. Eindhoven will follow this line next year. "We realize that these changes can never be to everyone's satisfaction. For us, a pleasant party for everyone, but especially for the children, is paramount", the municipality and foundation said in a statement.

This decision is the result of various dialogue sessions between residents, organized throughout the year by the municipality after the Sinterklaas arrival party got out of hand last year. Anti-Zwarte Piet protesters were attacked by pro-Zwarte Piet protesters. 

The dialogue sessions were primarily interned to reduce tensions, according to Eindhoven. But they also focused on exchanging views about "how we view the figure of Piet in today's society". 


Related stories