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".
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.
This year Sinterklaas will only be accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten at his national arrival in Apeldoorn on November 16th. All of Sinterklaas' helpers will have soot marks on their faces, instead of the traditional blackface makeup, NTR announced on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
Sinterklaas will make his national arrival to the Netherlands in Apeldoorn this year, NTR and Apeldoorn mayor Petra van Wingerden-Boers announced on Friday.
The national arrival will happen on Saturday, November 16th. Sinterklaasjournaal, the kids' show that follows Sinterklaas' travels to the Netherlands, will start on Monday, November 11th.
The municipality of Zaanstad fears that the Sinterklaas's national arrival on Saturday will have to be canceled if the court rules in favor of the Majority Perspective foundation in summary proceedings the foundation filed. The foundation did not ask for the celebration to be banned outright, as previously reported, but demands that the Zwarte Piet characters be stripped of all stereotypical characteristics and behaviors that they consider racist, NU.nl reports.
The first episode of NTR's kids show Sinterklaasjournaal on Monday featured mainly Chimney Pieten with soot marks on their faces. Only one, played by actor Maarten Wansink, had a completely black face, NU.nl reports.
In the first episode, presenter Dieuwertje Blok made first contact with the steamboat, which has to set course to Zaanstad where Sinterklaas will make his national arrival in the Netherlands on Saturday. The boat hasn't departed yet, because Sinterklaas is not yet on board.
A group of anti-Zwarte Piet protesters occupied a footbridge to the Mediapark in Hilversum on Monday morning. They call on broadcaster NTR to use only so-called Chimney Pieten with soot marks on their faces in the Sinterklaasjournaal, instead of Pieten with completely black faces, NU.nl reports.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The Sinterklaas arrival committees in the vast majority of Dutch towns and cities decided to keep their Zwarte Pieten traditional with blackface makeup, according to a survey by NOS and regional broadcasters. Only two of the 223 surveyed committees will have no blackface makeup at Sinterklaas' arrival - Amsterdam and Heemstede.
The Hague should follow the lead of kids' show Sinterklaasjournaal when it comes to what Zwarte Piet will look like at Sinterklaas' arrival in the city, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen will advise the organizers of the arrival
During the early hours of Friday morning the police caught two burglars in the act of breaking into an office building of the Seventh Day Adventisists in Huis ter Heide, the same building used as Sinterklaas' house in the Sinterklaasjournaal every year. It took the police some time to track the burglars down in the building, but they were eventually found stuck between two walls
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
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
Opponents of controversial Sinterklaas character Zwarte Piet pressed charges of, among other things, "statements inciting discrimination" against comedian Erik van Muiswinkel, who plays the head Piet in the Sinterklaasjournaal.
Erik van Muiswinkel, the actor who plays head Piet in the Sinterklaasjournaal, thinks that Zwarte Piet as he is today will be gone in 20 years time. He does not think that Zwarte Piet lovers are racist, but Zwarte Piet is a "racist icon of a time that was racist", he said on television program Pauw.
Sinterklaasjournaal host Dieuwertje Blok thinks that Zwarte Piet's traditional blackface appearance has to be phased out. "The Piet discussion has opened my eyes", she said
The first episode of the Sinterklaasjournaal on Monday contained only blackface Zwarte Pieten. Popular children's channel Nickelodeon went the other way, with a multicultural team of Pieten, and not one of them wearing blackface makeup.