Last Sunday we took our children to witness the arrival of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) here in Amsterdam. He traveled in his private steamboat from Spain, where he resides, and changed for horseback as soon as he reached the city’s shore. Escorted by over 600 ‘Zwarte Pieten’ (Black Peets) he rode through the city, waving at thousands of children and promising them to come by that night to put a small present in their little shoes. In return, the children sang loads of traditional songs (as did their parents), and many of them were dressed up as miniature Zwarte Pieten themselves (the children, not the parents).
If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can read more about Sinterklaas in the post I wrote last year. Also – the good man is basically the origin of the North-American Santa Claus!
So, if you happen to be in the Netherlands this time a year, and see a strangely dressed older man accompanied by an even weirder looking friend, don’t be in shock: this is Sinterklaas, the friend of every child!
P.S. Sinterklaas will be in the country untill December 5th, his birthday. After that, he’ll take his steamboat back to Spain.