AMSTERDAM

Sinterklaas is in the country!

intocht sinterklaasLast 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!

xxx Esther

P.S. Sinterklaas will be in the country untill December 5th, his birthday. After that, he’ll take his steamboat back to Spain.


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Comments (6)

Keri
November 22, 2008

Hi Esther,

Just curious if you’ve heard the skit by David Sedaris on Sinterklaas? Very funny, if, hopefully you are familiar with his work.


Esther
November 22, 2008

Never heard of him! I’ll have a look.


Courtney
November 22, 2008

Hooray for Sinterklaas!! I love the idea of putting out your little shoes in the evening to wake up in the morning with a little surprise inside!


Christine
November 22, 2008

My husband’s family is Dutch, so this year we’re going to celebrate with Sinterklaas. Our 3 year old is already beside herself with excitement (candy! presents! songs and dancing!), so thank goodness we can tell her he’s now off the boat!!


Emilie
November 23, 2008

I used to love St Nickolaus (as he is called in Germany). It was so great to have my shoes full of goodies when I woke up. I was always jealous of my brother as he had bigger shoes than me (being 2 years older). I was convinced that meant he would get a bigger present…


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peggy
November 24, 2008

St Nikolaus comes on 06.12. in germany (overnight from 05.12.)
so maybe just a little stop after he left the Netherlands… 🙂


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