Veenendaal says no to blackface at upcoming Sinterklaas arrival

Sinterklaas (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Michell Zappa)Sinterklaas (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Michell Zappa)

The Sinterklaas festivities in Veenendaal this year will feature no Zwarte Pieten in blackface makeup, the organizers of the annual event announced. Whether a Sinterklaas party can be held at all will depend on the coronavirus and measures around it, "but it is already clear that there will be no Zwarte Pieten", the board of Winkelstad Veenendaal said to ANP.

Winkelstad Veenendaal, the foundation that represents the interests of entrepreneurs in the city center and organizes the annual Sinterklaas party, said that it is looking for "suitable alternatives" to Sinterklaas' blackface helper. Last year, the Veenendaal party already featured some Chimney Pieten, Sinterklaas helpers with soot marks on their faces, instead of blackface makeup. 

"The Sinterklaas party is a party for all children. If certain groups in our society experience Zwarte Piet as hurtful, we want to take this into account. Everyone should be welcome and feel welcome in Veenendaal," the foundation said.