The enthusiasm for lighting fireworks over New Year's is decreasing among young Dutch people. Some 32 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds will probably light fireworks this coming New Year's, compared to 45 percent last year, according to an online survey by I&O Research among over 3 thousand people, NU.nl reports.
The proportion of Dutch who think that Sinterklaas' controversial helper must stay in his traditional blackface form decreased from 65 percent in 2016 to around 50 percent this year, according to a survey by research agency I&O Research among 3,145 Dutch aged 18 or older, NOS reports.
The Netherlands' tradition of letting consumers light fireworks over New Year's has the Dutch population properly divided. The majority of Dutch men want to keep this tradition, while the majority of Dutch women are in favor of fireworks bans, according to a survey newspaper AD conducted among over 157 thousand people.
According to the newspaper, 65 percent of all men are against a fireworks ban in their municipality, while 61 percent of women are for such a ban.
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 foundation for society and safety SMV wants to ban individuals lighting fireworks over New Year's. The use of New Year's fireworks must only take place within controlled events in professional fireworks shows, SMV director Ingrid de Jong said in the Telegraaf on Wednesday.
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.
A number of Protestant and Roman Catholic schools in The Hague are scaling back on the Christian character of their Easter celebrations in consideration of their non-Christian students. Leaders of Christian schools in The Hague's multicultural neighborhoods feel it is better to adjust their Easter celebrations to accommodate their mainly non-Christian student bodies, AD reports.
With outside temperatures of -4 degrees and seawater temperatures of around 7 degrees, some 50 thousand Dutch people took the traditional New Year's plunge at 142 locations in the Netherlands around noon on Sunday, RTL Nieuws reports.
The plunge at Scheveningen, The Hague was most popular with over 10 thousand people diving into freezing cold water.A spokesperson for the organizers called the plunge "nice and crisp",.
Despite the low temperatures, no one became hypothermic or was injured in any other way.
Anti-Zwarte Piet activist Jerry Afriyie filed abuse reports against a number of police offiers on Tuesday. According to the activists, the police use unnecessary violence while arresting him and nearly 200 others in Rotterdam on Sinterklaas' arrival day on November 12th, AD reports.
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.
Protest group Kick Out Zwarte Piet is plainning at least three more protests against blackface Zwarte Piet in the coming weeks, the organization announced on Thursday, ANP reports.
The group will hold "peaceful protests" at Sinterklaas' arrival in Leiden on November 19th, in Utrecht on November 26th and Rotterdam on November 207th.
A massive 198 people were arrested in Rotterdam on Saturday for wanting to protest against controversial character Zwarte Piet. Among them were GroenLinks councilor Simion Blom, lawyer Michiel Pestman and activist Jerry Afriyie.
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.
Broadcaster RTL will not be using blacface makeup on Zwarte Piet this year. The media company decided to from now on only use Pieten with soot marks on their face, RTL said in a statement.
"For one part the image of Zwarte Piet is discriminatory, while others find that Zwarte Piet is an integral part of the tradition", the broadcaster said in a statemetn. "RTL understands both points of view, but also believes that this discussion should not be about what's right, but understanding for each other."
Zwarte Piet in his current for is in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, says Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer. According to her, the figure of Zware Piet can contribute to bullying, exclusion or discrimination. He must therefore be adapted in such a way tht no children experience negativity in the Sinterklaas festival
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 14 Liberation Day festivals in the Netherlands on Thursday drew a record number of over a million people, according to the police. The most visited festivals were in Groningen, Zwolle, Wageningen and Haarlem.
The Netherlands is set to have the sunniest Liberation Day ever on Thursday. Meteorologists at Weerplaza expects just over 14 hours of sunshine, thereby breaking the record stemming from 2000 when the sun shone on the country for exactly 14 hours
People all over the Netherlands observed two minutes of silence at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday night to commemorate victims of the Second World War and other conflicts and wars that followed. Public transport came to a stand still and cars pulled over where they were to participate in the commemoration.
The government must not interfere in the appearance of Sinterklaas' following, and hence not that of Zwarte Piet, the Council of State said on Tuesday. The Netherlands' main advisory body therefore advises the Dutch government to reject a PVV proposal to ban municipalities from cooperating with Sinterklaas events in which the Pieten are not black.
Many a Dutch is preparing to welcome the New Year by diving into ice cold water in the traditional New Year's Dive. And while the sea water is expected to be warmer than in previous years, it is still important to stay safe and be well prepared. The Rescue Brigade released five safety tips to help courageous Dutch survive this daring tradition.
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
New Year's divers can expect "unusually warm" water when jumping on on January 1st, according to Weeronline. According to the weather service, it is hard to say what the outside temperature will be like on January 1st, but the sea water at least will be warmer than it's been in years
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.