Blackface Zwarte Piet will disappear from Rotterdam's Sinterklaas celebrations. Snic, the organization of the Sinterklaas Parade in the city, discussed the controversial character and how to modernize the children's party with Platform Rutu, which represents various African communities in Rotterdam. They decided to remove any reference to black or other possibly offensive stereotypes, including the word 'Zwarte' from Piet's name, RTV Rijnmond reports.
New costumes selected for Zwarte Piet at the Amsterdam Sinterklaas parade have sparked a new critique from activists in the Netherlands. The organizing committee, SSIA, dropped the decades-old Zwarte Piet costume because of its apparent connections to the 17th century child slave trade, replacing it instead with costumes inspired by Spanish nobility in the 16th century.
The roughly 400 Pieten helping Sinterklaas in Amsterdam's celebration this year, will be decked out in brand new, specially designed suits, the foundation responsible for the Amsterdam Sinterklaas celebration, SSIA, announced on Monday night. The new costumes were specifically designed to remove all references to slavery from the controversial character, discovered in examinations of the history behind the Zwarte Piet costume.
As the Netherlands' Sinterklaas celebrations approaches, municipalities are starting to reveal their plans on how they're dealing with controversial character Zwarte Piet. Most of the municipalities are sticking to blackface or dark brown makeup, according to AD's Piet Atlas. Amsterdam and The Hague will have no blackface Piets, with Amsterdam also designing a completely new costume. Utrecht plans mostly Chimney Piets - with faces covered in soot marks - and a few traditional blackface Piets. Rotterdam is keeping its plans secret until the day before the celebration.
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.
For the first time in years, Sinterklaas' national arrival may happen without any protests for or against controversial character Zwarte Piet. The national arrival is happening in Dokkum on November 18th. By Wednesday night the municipality of Dongeradeel, which covers Dokkum, received no applications for demonstrations, AD reports.
The Sinterklaas parade in Gouda this year will include a gluten-free Zwarte Piet. This Piet will hand out gluten-free sweets to children with gluten intolerance. A green flag with the gluten-free logo will be strapped to his back so that he is easy to recognize, AD 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.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb was well within his rights when he banned a demonstration against blackface Zwarte Piet in the city in November last year, the municipality's independent complaints committee ruled, RTV Rijnmond reports.
Sinterklaas' national arrival will be in the Friesland city of Dokkum this year. The saint and his entourage is scheduled to arrive on Saturday, November 18th, RTL Nieuws reports.
Dokkum falls under the municipality of Dongeradeel. Mayor Marga Waanders is delighted that Sinterklaas chose Dokkum for his arrival. "Fantastic news for Dokkum and the region Noordoost Fryslân", she said to the broadcaster. "We will warmly welcome Sinterklaas!"
As usual NTR will follow Sinterklaas and his arrival on the Sinterklaasjournaal with presenter Dieuwertje Blok.
The committee responsible for organizing Sinterklaas' arrival in Amstelveen quit, the college of mayor and aldermen wrote to the Amstelveen municipality. The committee refuses to accept any form of Zwarte Piet other than the traditional blackface one, and decided to rather step down than be forced into it, Het Parool reports.
The PVV's legislative proposal to make municipalities only participate in Sinterklaas events in which Zwarte Piet is wearing blackface makeup, could count on almost no support from both the lower house of Dutch parliament and the Dutch government today. Most parties in parliament were against the law and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs stated that the bill goes against the Dutch constitution.
The lower house of Dutch parliament is discussing a PVV legislative proposal today that wants to ensure that Zwarte Piet keeps his blackface makeup. According to initiator Martin Bosma, "for years there's been a war against Zwarte Piet" and that has to stop, the Telegraaf reports.
Dutch soldiers on a United Nations mission in Mali got a visit from Sinterklaas and two Zwarte Piets in their traditional blackface makeup on Monday, according to a photo the Ministry of Defense posted on Twitter.
Ravenna Bohmer and her family's Sinterklaas celebration ended in a nasty surprise on Sunday evening - their bag of gifts was stolen from their porch just before Sinterklaas arrived to hand it out, RTL Nieuws reports.
Ravenna hired a Sinterklaas and a Piet at a community center to hand out the gifts on Sunday. They were set to arrive at 6:15 p.m., so at 6:10 p.m. she put the bag of gifts on the porch. "We thought we could, because the living room is next to the front door. So if something happened, we would notice, and the gifts were outside for only a moment"
A computer error at PostNL on Monday resulted in thousands of packages being delayed in delivery. This means that thousands of Sinterklaas gifts may not make it to their recipients on time, the Telegraaf reports.
"We are working with man and might to deliver as many packages as possible through the evening delivery", a spokesperson for PostNL said to the Telegraaf after confirming the computer error.
Internal sources told the newspaper that hundreds of thousands of packages are affected by the delays, but the spokesperson denied this.
After a very cold night, Sinterklaas is celebrating his birthday in cold, but sunny weather across the Netherlands on Monday. During the night temperatures dropped to between -3 along the western coast to -8.8 degrees in Leeuwarden. Maximum temperatures will be around 2 degrees, according to Weeronline.
Traffic information service VID is expecting a tough evening rush hour in the Netherlands today due to the cold weather and people excited to get home for the Sinterklaas celebration .The VID expects the first traffic jam to hit around 3:30 p.m., about an hour earlier than usual, the Gelderlander reports.
Today Sinterklaas is visiting schools across the Netherlands in celebration of his birthday. And as tradition dictates, he will be accompanied by his Pieten. What exactly these Pieten will look like differs widely by region, municipality and schools and seems to be mostly determined by what neighborhood the school is located in, NOS reports after speaking with some 30 school boards, covering about a thousand primary schools across the country.
Two thirds of parents whose kids still believe in Sinterklaas say their kids are mostly unaffected by the ongoing debate surrounding blackface Zwarte Piet, according to a survey by I&O Research among 3 thousand adult Dutch, AD reports.
Sinterklaas spent nearly 1.3 billion euros shopping online for gifts this year. That is an increase of 35 percent compared to the online spending around the Sinterklaas celebrations last year, according to a study by PostNL and Thuiswinkel.org, AD reports
"Between 1 November and 5 December, the average weekly turnover is over 250 million euros", according to the researchers. "For the total Sinterklaas period the turnover comes down to 1.26 billion euros. That means an increase of 35 percent compared to the only sales of 933 million euros in the same period in 2015".
The Onze Wereld primary school in Rotterdam decided to scrap their Sinterklaas' arrival parade this year for "security reasons", school principal Tilly Terheijden said to newspaper AD. Instead Sinterklaas will arrive at the school out of sight of the parents.
The school decided to have Sinterklaas accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten this year, instead of the traditional blackface Zwarte Pieten after a complaint by a parent. This decision led to a heated discussion among parents at the school, with both pro- and anti-Zwarte Piet groups rearing their heads.
Sinterklaas season, and its accompanying increase in online shopping in the Netherlands, is leading to a very busy week for PostNL. The Dutch postal service expects to deliver a record number of over 5 million parcels during the Sinterklaas celebrations, ANP reports.
"Our sorting centers are running at full power across the country", Gerrit Mastenbroek, director of the parcel division of PostNL, said to the broadcaster on Tuesday. "Next week there will be 3,800 delivery drivers on the road, that is 600 more than a normal delivery day."
Right-wing grop Pegida decided to protest against Amsterdam's decision not to allow blackface makeup at its Sinterklaas party by parading Zwarte Pieten in blackface makeup through some of Amsterdam's most ethnically diverse neigborhoods.