Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan has been told by a court in the capital to reconsider the licensing of the Sinterklaas parade through the city last year, which became mired in controversy because of the Zwarte Piet character. The administrative court says the mayor has six weeks to look again at the decision to allow the parade to go ahead last year and determine if the correct one was taken. The administrative court said in its ruling the Zwarte Piet character a negative stereotype which is insulting to black people and the mayor must decide which interest is more important: that of black Amsterdammers or society in general, news agency ANP reported.It's official: Zwarte Piet (previously) is a racist, negative stereotype according to the Amsterdam courts. [more inside]
"You know it’s that time of the year again in Holland, when you are greeted by some Dutch person on the street, whose face is painted completely black and is sporting an afro wig, bright red lips and a ridiculous clown-like costume. What is possibly more strange than this very sight, is the fact that many Dutch person finds it a completely normal and acceptable occurrence. Yes, Dutch people love their Zwarte Pieten." (previously, previously) Now combine them with Gangnam parodies and you have the latest Sinterklaas trend.
Sinterklaas is coming to town. Christmas comes early for Dutch children. Or rather, Sinterklaas does, having brought his gifts this weekend. While many Anglo-American Christmas traditions owe much to marketing schemes, the Dutch attachment to mulled wine and spiced biscuits harks back to earlier times. Perhaps too much so: with ongoing racial tensions following the murder of Theo van Gogh, the annual debate over 'zwarte piet', Santa's blackfaced little helper, has been especially heated. (One advantage of artificial traditions is that they tend to avoid such messy questions.) Nevertheless, here's the motherlode of Sinterklaas links, including songs, recipes and background.
The Dutch foreign ministry tells you all about Sinterklaas, the Dutch predecessor of Santa Claus (see also Tsja).