Mayor Marga Waanders of was not allowed to issue an emergency decree to ban a demonstration against Zwarte Piet during Sinterklaas' arrival in Dokkum in 2017, the court ruled on Friday. According to the court, the situation did not match the requirements for an emergency decree, and the mayor did not sufficiently consider other, less drastic measures.
Anti-racism action group Kick Out Zwarte Piet will protest throughout the year against the presence of blackface Zwarte Piet in the annual Sinterklaas celebrations this year. The group is planning actions every quarter, was decided at a meeting in the Willem Twee showroom in Den Bosch on Monday, RTL Nieuws reports.
Police arrested a third man connected to a shooting in Utrecht, where local residents said the perpetrator was dressed up like Zwarte Piet. The arrest in the 2018 case was announced on Tuesday. He is a 48-year-old man with no fixed address.
Two people were arrested in the case last June. Neither was believed to be the shooter, police said in July when they released images of the man they said was at large.
Percentage wise, web shops and parcel deliverers delivered fewer packages late this past December. Sinterklaas in particular was more on time - only 3.5 percent of packages were late, compared to 5.5 percent in 2018. The delivery of Christmas cards, on the other hand, did not go well - 36 percent of people complained that their Christmas cards arrived after Christmas or even after New Year's, NOS reports based on a study by Q&A.
Giving gifts on Christmas has become a tradition in the Netherlands, even though Christmas falls only 20 days after the departure of Sinterklaas. "You can even see that we now spend a little bit more for Christmas than for Sinterklaas," retail expert Hans van Tellingen said to RTL Nieuws.
"Sinterklaas remains important, but you see that other events are becoming increasingly important," Van Tellingen, from shopping center researcher Strabo, said. "It is no longer either-or, but and-and."
Sinterklaas and two blackface Zwarte Piet characters were harassed on Laakweg in The Hague on Thursday evening. A group of young people followed them shouting things like "Get out Zwarte Piet" and "No racism in Laak".
A video of the incident was shared on social media. The young people can be heard shouting, translated from Dutch: "No racism brother. One for all, all for one". One of the young men threw something at Sinterklaas and pushed him, causing him to stumble.
The Sinterklaas and Pieten seemingly ignored the group and just kept walking.
This evening is Pakjesavond in the Netherlands - the evening on which Sinterklaas delivers his gifts. As a result, evening rush hour is expected to start earlier and be busier than usual, as many people leave work earlier than normal to get home on time, travelers association ANWB and public works department Rijkswaterstaat warn.
This morning parents across the Netherlands will be bringing their kids to school to celebrate Sinterklaas, Packjesavond and the saint's imminent return to Spain. Foundation Nederland Wordt Beter is calling on parents to keep their children at home if their school's party still features blackface Zwarte Piet.
Netherlands online store Bol.com wants to move Black Friday to a week earlier so that it does not clash with Sinterklaas. Currently peak crowds on Black Friday can have a chain effect resulting in gifts being delivered too late for Pakjesavond - the night Sinterklaas delivers his gifts on December 5th, general manager Huub Vermeulen said to Trouw.
The Utrecht district of Zuilen decided to cancel its Sinterklaas arrival party, scheduled for Saturday. The foundation in charge of organizing the party received serious threats because it decided to switch to so-called Chimney Pieten - Piet characters with soot marks on their faces instead of blackface makeup as the character is traditionally portrayed, Miranda Spies of the Gemeenschap Zuilen foundation said to AD.
The largest toy store chains in the Netherlands largely prefer to avoid the debate around the appearance of blackface Sinterklaas character Zwarte Piet by not having the character in their stores, NU.nl reports after speaking to the toy stores.
Intertoys, the largest toy chain in the Netherlands with over 200 branches, removed Piet in whatever form completely from decorations in Intertoys stores. The chain thus avoids uncomfortable situations, a spokesperson said to the newspaper.
All 11 members of radical nationalist group Pegida arrested during the national Sinterklaas arrival party in Apeldoorn on Saturday, have been released from custody, the police announced on Sunday. The Pegida demonstrators, dressed as blackface Zwarte Piet, were arrested for refusing to follow police orders. The other Sinterklaas arrival parties throughout the Netherlands happened largely without major incident.
Several people Including the head of radical nationalist group Pegida were arrested in Apeldoorn at the national arrival of Sinterklaas, the winter holiday folklore character who brings gifts to children. Police say that most of those arrested were protestors who refused orders to move to a cordoned off area for demonstrations.
The bag of gifts Sinterklaas brings to your door will cost the holy man 2.6 percent more this year than it did last year, according to calculations by ING Economic Bureau. The price of most traditional Sinterklaas gifts increased over the past year, at least partly due to the increase in the low VAT rate, NU.nl reports.
Sweets and chocolate letters are 3.3 percent and 5 percent more expensive respectively. Toys saw a price increase of 1.5 percent. Books and fragrances now cost 3.3 percent more. The only cheaper gift is jewelry, 1.2 percent cheaper than last year.
The Public Prosecution service is going to prosecute 23 people for criminal offenses around the Facebook live stream of Sinterklaas' national arrival in Amstelveen last year. They suspects are accused of threats, incitement and discrimination and will soon receive their summons, NOS reports.
The vast majority of Dutch municipalities are staying out of the discussion around the appearance of Zwarte Piet at the Sinterklaas arrival parties in their cities. Only a small number set conditions regarding the controversial character in the Sinterklaas tradition, NOS reports after speaking to the 120 largest municipalities in the Netherlands, three quarters of which responded to the broadcaster's questions.
Apeldoorn is taking various security measures, ranging from access gates to special rules of conduct, to make sure that Sinterklaas' national arrival party on Saturday is safe and pleasant, Hart van Nederland reports.
In the night from Friday to Saturday, the municipality will place access gates at 14 locations in the city center. Everyone who attends the celebration must pass through one of these gates, where there will be random checks.
A 49-year-old man from The Hague was arrested on Monday after publishing a social media post in which he threatened to attack activists with a bomb by blowing himself up as a way of shutting down what he called the "anti-Zwarte Piet movement." He emphasized in the message on Facebook that he "is not joking," and said he wanted to carry out the attack to defend the Sinterklaas tradition as it has been celebrated "for 100 years."
The supervisory board of the National Union of Journalists, a leading journalism labour union in the United Kingdom, passed a motion unanimously late last week that encourages reporters and editors covering the Zwarte Piet character in the Dutch Sinterklaas celebration to do so in a non-discriminatory way. Journalists were reminded of the union's Race Reporting Guidelines, which states that publications should not "originate material which encourages discrimination on the grounds of race or colour".
Activists seek personal protection: Protest organization Kick Out Zwarte Piet has scrapped its public schedule after a violent attack on its activists in Den Haag, wrote Nu.nl, and a threat of rioting at the group's planned roundtable discussion in Hengelo. The Hengelo event set for Monday was cancelled by city politicians at the last minute, according to Tubantia.
Five people were arrested in Den Haag on Friday night, accused of attempted arson and a violent assault against anti-Zwarte Piet activists meeting there, police said. Dozens of people were gathered in the former school building to discuss their activism against the use of blackface and racist caricatures in the Netherlands, when dozens more tried to storm the facility.
The national Sinterklaas arrival party in Apeldoorn can happen without any blackface Zwarte Piet characters, according to the court in Arnhem. The court ruled against a lawsuit demanding that the municipality of Apeldoorn revoke the permit for the party because Sinterklaas will only be accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten - Piet characters with soot marks on their faces instead of blackface makeup, NOS reports.
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.
The Arnhem-Leeuwarden court of appeal on Thursday convicted 15 pro-Zwarte Piet protesters for their role in blocking the A7 highway to prevent two buses of anti-Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching the national Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum in November 2017. The court did, however, lower their sentences to 90 hours of community service.