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.
Well-known anti-Zwarte Piet activist Jerry Afriyie was fined 500 euros by the court in The Hague for resisting arrest during the Sinterklaas arrival in Gouda in 2014. Afriyie plans to go in cassation against the verdict, he confirmed to NU.nl.
The Dutch judiciary does not have to prosecute companies for using blackface Zwarte Piet, the court in Amsterdam ruled on Wednesday in an Article 12 procedure brought by the foundation Nederland Wordt Beter, NU.nl reports.
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 attempted coup in Turkey last year led to a significant increase of discrimination based on political affiliation reports in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch national association against discrimination LVD. Last year the association received 151 reports of discrimination based on political affiliation, compared to only 14 such reports in 2015. Most of these reports came from Turkish-Dutch, NOS 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.
Left-wing site Indymedia targeted Rotterdam police officers involved in the mass arrest of Zwarte Piet protestors in November in a kind of parody of the game Pokemon Go. The "game", called Poke-A-Cop, includes close up photos of the police officers as well as a description of their role in the arrests.
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.
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.
The Sinterklaas celebration with Zwarte Piet in his current blackface form can inadvertently contribute to stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice wrote in a letter to parliament. The government therefore supports the tradition being adapted, NU.nl reports.
"It is difficult, for example in the U.S., to explain the tradition of Zwarte Piet in his current form", the Minister wrote, but he added that the Dutch who "always celebrate the kids party with great joy" are not directly racist.
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.
The Sinterklaas Foundation in Leiden issued an official aplogy after a commotion erupted due their use of savage-like "cannibal" Zwarte Piet characters in blacface makeup. Sinterklaas was accompanied by a parade of blackface Piet characters dressed in frizzy wigs with bones in and panther skins when he arrived in Leiden on Saturday, Omroep West reports.
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.
The municipality of Geleen approved a protest against blackface Zwarte Piet at the Sinterklaas party in the center of the city on Saturday. This follows a meeting with the initiators of the protest on Thursday, 1Limburg reports.
The activists plan a silent protest at Sinterklaas' arrival in the city on Saturday. They hope to stand close to the Saint's podium. A spokesperson for the municipality told L1 that a spot has been designated for the protesters, but the location will not be announced yet. According to the spokesperson, it is a small group of protesters.
Both intelligence service AIVD and the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Dick Schoof contacted Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb prior to Sinterklaas' arrival in Maassluis on Saturday to warn him about possible clashes between anti-blackface Zwarte Piet activists, right-wing protesters and hooligans, the mayor said in a debate with his city council on Thursday, NOS reports.
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.
Rotterdam police arrested two men on Friday morning after they exchanged heated messages back and forth on social media. One person was in favor of the winter mythical character, Zwarte Piet, remaining in blackface, while the other was opposed to the character, police said.
Only the 57-year-old man from Amsterdam was accused of making a threat. Both he and a 26-year-old from Utrecht are alleged of encouraging public disorder and criminal behavior.
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.