Skip to Content

Josephine Baker smiles at Zwarte Piet, 1957. Wikipedia

Dutch public refuse to abandon Zwarte Piet

In almost all Sinterklaas parades in the Netherlands, committees have pledged to keep the controversial black-face servant of a white-bearded father figure for Christmas.

Published: October 18, 2018, 9:07 am

    Read more

    Zwarte Piet is the assistant of Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas, and accompanies him when Sinterklaas enters the towns on the first Saturday after 11 November.

    They want to remain faithful to the tradition of Zwarte Piet they sayThis is evidenced by an inventory of the Sint en Pietengilde – a guild to which the participants belong. The guild has previously successfully argued for placing the Sinterklaas tradition on the National Heritage list.

    On the basis of the reports that have been received, the Sint en Pietengilde concluded that most committees do not care about the so-called debate about a “black-face slave” and will continue as they always have with the famous street parade.

    Guild spokesman Marc Giling said that from almost 800 entries across the country, they have received information about the kind of people that participating. “Of all the municipalities and committees that have reported so far, we have been told that a black-face person will be participating,” says Giling.

    He has taken into account that in some places other types of Pieten will be chosen, but the guild is not informed of this. “Committees that want to celebrate the parade with chimney sweepers or other types of characters, probably do not report to us first. Because if that becomes known about Sinterklaas, most people will probably move to another place before the parade. ”

    Traditionally Zwarte Piet is considered to be a Moor from Spain, which explaines his dark skin. But some politically correct parades wanted to replace him with Chimney Sweep Piet, where the only colour added is stripes of soot.

    According to the guild, this debate about class, race, slavery and blackness is mainly conducted in the Randstad, in the main cosmopolitan centre in The Netherlands. Most Dutch people outside the Randstad have shrugged off the discussion about “victimhood”.

    Randstad is a megalopolis in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surrounding areas. Among other things, it contains the world’s busiest seaport of Rotterdam and many left-leaning wealthy voters.

    In March this year, during a meeting of the Dutch Association of Mayors, according to RTL News, sixty mayors present at that meeting were urged to save Sinterklaas.

    The arrival of Sinterklaas and his helper Zwarte Piet, has always been broadcast live on television but in the past few years the event has been beset by protests against the blackface Zwarte Piet.

    Last year in the Friesland town of Dokkum pro-Piet supporters blocked a highway to keep protesters out. The enthusiastic support for the parade is another nod in their direction.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    UK faces policing crisis as cops quit in huge numbers

    Law enforcement chiefs in Britain are struggling to find enough specialist detectives with three-quarters of stations admitting that they cannot fill vacancies because of the rate at which experienced officers are quitting the force.

    French official criticises British resolve to stop illegals

    In the fight against networks of human traffickers in the English Channel, the president of the Regional Council of Hauts-de-France has pleaded for stronger cooperation between France and Britain to end illegal immigration.

    Smartphones stolen in Barcelona turn up in Marrakesh

    A profitable black market in smartphones is encouraging the theft of mobile phones in the coastal city of Barcelona.

    Bertelsmann study: Does Germany really need more immigrants?

    Germany supposedly needs 260 000 immigrants each year, a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation has recently found. But the findings have drawn much criticism and incomprehension.

    Number of migrants in German prisons at a record high

    BerlinMigrant inmates in German prisons have skyrocketed, a new survey of the Justice Ministries in in Germany's 16 federal states show.

    Hungary launches seven-point family plan

    BudapestHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced a family protection plan in his state-of-the nation address in Budapest on Sunday.

    Act XIII: Protester’s hand torn off by police grenade

    ParisDuring the clashes that took place in front of the National Assembly in Paris over the weekend between police and Yellow Vests, a protester lost his hand. Tensions rose a notch in Paris on Saturday, February 9 on the occasion of Act XIII of the protest movement.

    UK Counter Terrorism interviews 8-year-old

    LondonIn Britain, an eight-year-old Muslim boy was questioned by two counter-terrorism police officers and a social worker at a school in east London because he had become so radicalized.

    French border officials caught forging migrant applications

    French border officials have been accused of forgery in order to send young migrants back to Italy.

    Smørdland-like knife murder attempt in IKEA Hamburg

    HamburgIn Hamburg-Schnelsen, Germany, a young man, 22, was stabbed on Saturday evening shortly after 6pm by a "Southerner" in the cashier area of IKEA.

    Go to archive