The Zaanstad Sinterklaas committee, the largest in the Zaanstreek, will not participate in the national Sinterklaas arrival in Zaandijk on November 17th. A statement by broadcaster NTR, the organizer of the national arrival, led the committee to the conclusion that no blackface Zwarte Pieten will be allowed to participate in the arrival for the first time. But according to a spokesperson for NTR, this is not the case at all.
The Sinterklaasjournaal will feature only "Chimney Pieten" with soot on their faces this year, broadcaster NTR said in a statement on its website. How black the Pieten's faces will be remains vague. The amount of soot on their faces depends on how often they've gone through the chimney, the broadcaster said.
In the statement NTR addressed a number of questions around Sinterklaas' national arrival in Zaanstad on November 17th, and his controversial helper Zwarte Piet. On the question how the Pieten will look in the popular kids' show, NTR said:
NTR, responsible for Sinterklaas' arrival in the Netherlands every year, hasn't received any requests from Dutch municipalities to host the event this year, according to a letter the broadcaster sent the Dutch Association of Mayors, NU.nl reports.
Every year the public broadcaster receives requests from various municipalities who want to organize the event. But by March 7th, when the letter was sent, their hadn't been a single one.
Michael Wolff, the author of the much discussed book about American president Donald Trump titled Fire and Fury, will be speaking in Amsterdam next month. He will be a guest on this year's College Tour, broadcaster NTR announced.
Sinterklaas will have a "motley crew of helpers" in the Sinterklaasjournaal this year, NTR announced on Monday. Exactly what these helpers will look like was not announced, and the word 'Piet' was not mentioned once in the press release, NOS reports.
NTR's Sinterklaasjournaal wil not feature any multicolored Piet characters this year, media director Willemijn Francissen said to the Telegraaf. Exactly what Sinterklaas' controversial helpers will look like is unclear. All she would say about that is "a kind of fifty shades of gray". So it seems that traditional blackface Zwarte Piet may also not make an appearance.
Donilio, a 19-year-old who participated in student reality television series Dream School, died suddenly in his sleep. He was found dead on January 10th, the Telegraaf reports.
A massive 1,075,000 people tuned in to NTR to watch the first episode of Sinterklaasjournaal on Wednesday night. According to rating foundation KijkOnderzoek, Sinterklaasjournaal was the 10th most watched program of the evening, the Telegraaf reports.
There was much interest in the runup to the first episode. Many schools and foundations were waiting to see what Sinterklaasjournaal did with the appearance of Zwarte Piet before making a decision themselves. The first episode featured both a white- and blackface Piet.
More than 100 Dutch celebrities, including directors, actors and athletes, wrote an open letter to broadcaster NTR on Friday asking that the appearance of controversial Sinterklaas character Zwarte Piet be updated to fit a multicultural society, NRC reports based on the letter in its possession.
The municipality of Maasluis will be using mostly black Zwarte Piets at Sinterklaas' national arrival on November 12th this year, Mayor Edo Haan said to RTV Rijnmond.
NTR director Paul Romer is keeping the Zwarte Pieten in Dutch kids show Sinterklaasjournaal black because he does not want to move ahead of public opinion and believes the broadcaster should remain neutral
Dutch public broadcasters launched a website this week where asylum seekers, immigrants and expatriates can watch Dutch programs subtitled in English and Arabic. The video-on-demand service - called Net in Nederland or New to the Netherlands in English - is intended to help newcomers get used to Dutch society
Dolores Leeuwin, a presenter on the Sinterklaasjournaal since 2012, may not be returning to the show next year because she can no longer justify the current appearance of Zwarte Piet to herself
Kids and adults alike will soon no longer be able to watch Sesame Street on NPO 1 in the early evening. The popular kids show will be making way for Time for Max in January. Long time host Mister Aart Staartjes may retire following this decision.
In the run-up to the national arrival celebration of Sinterklaas, held this year in Meppel, Drenthe, local mayor Jan Westmaas says he wants to enter into a dialogue with opponents of Zwarte Piet and its blackface look, as well as traditionalists who want to keep the character as is. This year's arrival is scheduled for November 14, but a representative from the municipality would not comment on the image of Zwarte Piet that will be used in this years’ celebrations, reported Nu.nl.