With the month of November, and the arrival of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, approaching, the Zwarte Piet discussion is also starting up again. The first demonstrations at the Sint's arrival in Zaanstad on November 17th were announced, though so far only from activists supporting the blackface figure of Zwarte Piet.
A police officer who ridiculed a female colleague in front of 140 fellow cops during a Christmas party last year, is guilty of dereliction of duty and has to hand in 16 hours of leave, the court in Maastricht ruled. Dressed as Sinterklaas, the officer mocked his colleague's failed relationship in a poem and song, NOS reports.
The national arrival of Sinterklaas will happen in the Noord-Holland municipality of Zaanstad on November 17th this year. Mayor Jan Hamming will welcome the Saint and his helpers in the historic village of Zaandijk, after which Sinterklaas will travel to Zaanse Schans on horseback, NTR announced on Friday.
Dutch Facebook users provide a remarkably large stream of posts containing hate, racism, an wishes for someone to get a disease like cancer. The number of such posts coming from southern European countries, for example, is much lower, the Volkskrant reports based on its own research.
The newspaper based its report on an anonymous interview with a Dutch man who worked for Facebook as moderator in Berlin last year, leaked emails, internal documents, and a colleague who supported his story. A Dutch team, which varies from five to eight people, works as Facebook moderators in Berlin.
A total of 34 Zwarte Piet supporters will be criminally prosecuted for blocking the A7 highway at Joure before Sinterklaas' national arrival in Dokkum last year, the Prosecutor announced. They blocked the highway to prevent anti-Zwarte Piet activists reaching Dokkum to demonstrate at the arrival party.
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.
A call to put a price on Sinterklaas's head was a joke made in a private Facebook conversation with only three participants, suspect Michael van Zeijl said on talk show De Nieuwe Maan. He also does not regret making the 'joke' in October last year, NOS reports.
An investigation was launched into a threat to kill Sinterklaas during his national arrival in Dokkum last year, the Public Prosecutor confirmed to the Telegraaf. The threat, aimed at Stefan de Walle, the actor who plays Sinterklaas, was made by the leader of left-wing extremist group De Grauwe Eeuw, according to the newspaper.
Some 18 suspects were identified during a criminal investigation into the unauthorized highway shutdown meant to stop protestors from marching against Zwarte Piet last November. Police notified the suspects that they are wanted for questioning, the public prosecutor's office announced on Monday.
Only one day since Pakjesavond and online market place Marktplaats is already flooded with unwanted Sinterklaas gifts. This year Sinterklaas most often misjudged his custom's desires when it came to navigation systems, car chargers for smartphones and underwear and lingerie, RTL Nieuws reports.
The site also saw a massive increase in offers to sell Dutch-language CDs, up 28 percent. The offer of travel guides also increased significantly, by 19 percent. And like previous years, many people also listed hats, scarves, gloves and DVDs for sale.
Everyone celebrating Pakjesavond in the Netherlands this evening, can look forward to not doing so in the rain, according to Weeronline. This evening is expected to be cloudy, but dry with mild temperatures ranging between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius.
The Netherlands celebrates Pakjesavond on the evening of December 5th. Tonight many Dutch children will excitedly listen for a knock at the door, or a thump in the attic, and run to find that Sinterklaas left a sack full of gifts for them.
The teachers at four out of five primary schools in the Netherlands do not talk about the color of Zwarte Piet and do not ask themselves whether appearance of the controversial character may be hurtful to some children, according a study by DUO Onderwijsonderzoek & Advies, ANP reports.
Dutch newspaper AD and a number of Dutch celebrities are calling for a 'Sinterklaas truce'. The newspaper wants to make a deal - no debating about the form of the Sinterklaas party or the appearance of Zwarte Piet as long as Sinterklaas is in the Netherlands - and a number of well known Dutch expressed similar sentiments in the newspaper.
A Sinterklaas circus in the Rotterdam neighborhood of Spangen is being broken down only a few days after setting up. According to initiator Wouter Zuidema, he no longer feels safe after receiving threats over the telephone and on social media because his circus uses blackface Zwarte Pieten, he said according to local newspaper Dagblad 010.
The locks of the Sinterklaas home in Dordrecht were sabotaged by activists over night. A metallic substance and glue were found in the locks, making the doors difficult to open. Stickers reading 'Zwarte Piet is racism' were stuck on the building, NOS reports.
According to the VVV, the organization responsible for the Sinterklaas home, the damage is not too bad. All stickers were removed before the home opened to its public, which mostly consists of school children. The Sinterklaas house is a municipal building where Sinterklaas 'lives'.
Someone snapped a photo of Sinterklaas peeing against a building in Amsterdam. The photo was sent to community police officer Frank Westerop, who posted it on Twitter on Tuesday.
"Is this what is meant by 'and sprinkle some sweets... in one corner or another'?" the officer jokingly tweeted. He also wondered about whether or not to fine the Sint. "Because I also want something in my shoe later on!"
A last-minute demonstration ban implemented for the national Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum this past Saturday had to do with information that protesters planned to use heavy fireworks, Mayor Marga Waanders of Dongeradeel - which covers Dokkum - said in a statement. The statement did not say whether it was pro-Zwarte Piet or anti-Zwarte Piet protesters who had fireworks, AD reports.
"Based on this information, the triangle [police, Prosecutor and mayor] was advised to ban the demonstration, because the safety of all people could no longer be guaranteed", Waanders said.
Over 36 thousand euros was raised in under two days in an action launched to cover any possible fines imposed on people who blocked the A7 highway to stop three buses carrying Kick Out Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching Dokkum on Saturday.
Sinterklaas paraded through the Amsterdam neighborhood of Osdorp on Saturday on the back of a camel, instead of a horse, with a drum band playing Arabic music and a barrel organ, Het Parool reports.
The neighborhood parade caused some political backlash - from PVV leader Geert Wilders who called it "sick" on Twitter, and animal party PvdD worried about the welfare of the camel - but according to organizer, 15-year-old Salim, he simply wanted to make it a fun parade for his neighbors to enjoy.
People protesting for keeping Zwarte Piet in blackface makeup, also have to comply with the law, State Secretary Raymond Knops of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said in WNL on Sunday. He was referring to a group of people blocking anti-Zwarte Piet protesters from reaching the Sinterklaas parade in Dokkum on Saturday, where they had permission to protest against racism.
"I understand the emotions on this subject, but I cannot approve of people stopping everything on a highway," Knops said. "Everyone must abide by the law, including these people."
Buses filled with Zwarte Piet protestors were stopped by a group of about 35 white people stationed on the A7 highway outside Heerenveen, Friesland on Saturday. The protesters were on their way to the official Sinterklaas arrival in Dokkum about 50 kilometers away, where they had approval from city officials to march against the character.
Mayor Marga Waanders of Dongeradeel, the police and Public Prosecutor decided to put a stop to a call on Facebook for Friesland residents to try and stop anti-Zwarte Piet activists reaching Dokkum, where Sinterklaas will make his national arrival on Saturday. In an open letter, the Mayor called on everyone coming to see Sinterklaas' arrival to respect each other's opinions.
Sinterklaas, his helpers and everyone going to see him arrive in Dokkum on Saturday are advised to dress warmly and take their raincoats. The weather is expected to be rainy and cold, Weeronline reports
According to the weather service, maximum temperatures in Dokkum on Saturday will reach no higher than 8 degrees. But due to expected rain and a moderate to strong wind, the ambient temperature may drop to freezing point.
Dokkum is getting ready for Sinterklaas' national arrival on Saturday, including putting up decorations and preparing for an anti-Zwarte Piet protest. The municipality of Dongeradeel, which includes Dokkum, gave Kick Out Zwarte Piet permission to protest, but is still working out the exact conditions and arrangements, a spokesperson said to Het Parool.
Kick Out Zwarte Piet announced their protest on Facebook. The protest will be preceded by a "March for Civilization", according to the group.