After a weekend that saw anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrators attacked by threats, racist epithets, and with eggs and beer cans hurled at them, the activists of Kick Out Zwarte Piet said they are disappointed in city governance in the Netherlands. Protestors were physically and verbally assaulted during the Sinterklaas arrival events in Eindhoven, Groningen, and Leeuwarden, while threats of violence forced the cancellation of a protest in Nijmegen.
Good news for everyone going to see Sinterklaas make his national arrival in Zaanstad on Saturday. The weather is expected to be sunny and dry, though a strong and cold east wind means that a warm coat and scarf will be a good idea, Weeronline reports.
Saturday morning will start out foggy, but it should clear up by the time Sinterklaas arrives in Zaandijk at noon. Then it will be sunny "with just a few friendly clouds", according to the weather service. The maximum temperature will climb to around 9 degrees, but due to the wind it will feel around 5 degrees.
Children in Zaanstad see Sinterklaas as a fun family celebration and when it comes to the color of Zwarte Piet, they prefer so-called Chimney Pieten colored black by soot, according to Zaanstad Children's Ombudsman Martien van Does, Het Parool reports.
Van Does spoke to 200 children about Sinterklaas in the run-up to a debate evening on Wednesday about the holy man's national arrival at the Zaanse Schans on November 17th.
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.
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.
The Van Gogh Museum closed 2017 with a new record of 2.26 million visitors, which makes it the most visitors in the Netherlands. "This milestone shows that Van Gogh still inspires an uncountable number of people from the whole world. That is fantastic", Axel Rüger, director of the museum, told Het Parool.
There was also an increase of almost four percent in the number of people in possession of the Museumkaart in 2017. Sone 1.35 million people now have a Museumkaart and the cards were used a total of 8.7 million times, an average of 6.6 times per person.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Amsterdam dropped sharply in recent weeks. Several tourism companies and tourist attractions report a decrease in foreign visitors, especially Chinese and Japanese visitors
The Zaanse Schans and Van Gogh museum were the most popular day attractions in the Netherlands for foreign tourists last year. These two attractions drew 1.63 and 1.6 million foreign visitors respectively, according to figures released by tourist office NBTC on Thursday.