People in the Netherlands reported 4,092 cases of racism, extremism and anti-Semitism to the police in all of 2014, an increase of 26 percent compared to a year earlier. Though total incidents fell by over four percent, racial abuse cases jumped by 26 percent to 2,764.
Sinterklaas was accompanied by a wide range of characters all across the Netherlands on Friday morning. At the Prinses Magriet school in Utrecht he was surrounded by Minions and police officers.
Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian received the Prins Claus Award from the hands of Prince Constantijn in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
Judi Mesman, professor of diversity in education and development at the University of Leiden, is studying how young children who still believe in Sinterklaas see Zwarte Piet and when they start connecting him to race. The initial results of her study shows that these kids rather association Piet with fantasy characters and clowns than other people with dark skin
Roger Williams received death threats due to his Zwarte Piet documentary Blackface. The American director revealed this on RTL Late Night on Monday night.
Zwarte Piet protesters created a "frightening, threatening atmosphere" at the Reigerbos in Amsterdam Zuidoost mall during Sinterklaas arrival on Saturday, according to the shopkeepers' association in the area. The association now wants clarification from the district because the permit for the party did not give permission for a demonstration by Zwarte Piet opponents.
Roger Williams, the American director of the Zwarte Piet documentary Blackface, will be appearing on RTL Late Night on Monday evening. Host Humberto Tan to remain calm and "listen to Williams' story and arguments.
The Utrecht faction of the VVD is calling on parents to go to school dressed as traditional, blackface Zwarte Piet during Sinterklaas' arrival on Friday. This is in response to school organization SPO, which governs more than 30 public schools in the city, banning Sinterklaas' controversial helper from the celebrations this year.
One primary school in Utrecht will have Minions helping Sinterklaas this year, instead of Zwarte Piet. After SPO Utrecht, an organization that governs 33 public elementary schools in the city, banned Zwarte Piet due to racism, the schools had to come up with different ways to handle the Sinterklaas celebration this year
Roger Williams, who directed a short documentary about Zwarte Piet, received hate mail in which he was called a "black monkey" after he called Sinterklaas' controversial helper "Holland's dirty little secret".
A Twente woman received hundreds of threats and insults on social media after pointing out to a Hema store in Nijverdal that they were using the traditional Zwarte Piet, instead of the Chimney Pieten the chain decided on. Some of the responses to her Twitter post include wishes that she is raped, suggestions that she jump in front of a train and hopes that she disappears through the chimney of a crematorium.
A group of demonstrators protesting against Zwarte Piet at the Pietendorp in Enkhuizen on Sunday were met with aggression and insults. According to the activists, some black protesters were called "monkeys and cotton pickers".
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
Protest group Kick Out Zwarte Piet is pressing charges against people who left racist comments on a photo the group posted on Facebook.
Sinterklaas officially arrived in the Netherlands on Saturday, accompanied by his controversial helper, Zwarte Piet. Though the assistants are mythologized as having dark smudges caused by soot, the character more closely resembles minstrels in blackface with nappy-haired wigs, large hoop earrings, big red lips and a buffoonish demeanour.
Most schools in the Netherlands will be keeping Zwarte Piet in his traditional appearance during the Sinterklaas celebrations this year and in the years to come. About 34 percent of respondents find the racism debate surrounding the Sinterklaas helper not a concern for their own organizations, with 32 percent saying they do not find the character discriminatory, a survey of teachers by general education association AOb revealed on Tuesday.
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.
Half of Sinterklaas' helpers will be so-called Chimney Pieten at the Saint's arrival in Amsterdam this year. And in the coming years, the traditional blackface Zwarte Pieten will progressively make way for more sooty-faced Pieten.
On Monday the municipality of Hoorn announced in a press release that Green Pieten will attending Sinterklaas in the city this year, to emphasize the sustainable character of the city. This backfired quite completely, resulting in responsible GroenLinks alderman Samir Bashara having to issue another press release in which he apologized for the publicity stunt. Hoorn will keep to the traditional blackface Zwarte Piet.
The Amsterdam police will this year not be allowed to have internal Sinterklaas celebrations with their children with only blackface Zwarte Pieten. The parties will be allowed if Pieten of other colors are also present.
The appearance of Zwarte Piet will only be adjusted in the city of Rotterdam itself, the rest of the Rotterdam area will be keeping Sinterklaas' helper in his traditional outfit and blackface makeup. Other Dutch municipalities are also sticking to the tradition.
Maastricht schools will be discarding one of Zwarte Piet's characteristic features during the Sinterklaas celebrations this year. The announcement was made by Mosa Lira, the umbrella organization covering primary school education in Maastricht.
Albert Heijn is concerned about the security of their staff after the supermarket refused to ban Zwarte Piet. A strict Zwarte Piet manual has therefore been sent to all 850 Albert Heijn branches in the country with instructions on how to deal with difficult situations regarding the controversial character.
Sinterklaas will be accompanied by more so-called Chimney Pieten and fewer traditional Zwarte Pieten at his national arrival in Meppel this year. More of Sinterklaas' helpers will be marked with ash and soot marks on their faces, instead of the traditional black-face makeup. The cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Maastricht will be following the same trend in the coming years.