News of: Thursday, November 14 2019,
Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, will arrive in Amsterdam again on Sunday (November 17).
The yearly Sinterklaas parade in Amsterdam is the largest world-wide. The parade normally attracts thousands of (grand)parents and children along the route.
Sinterklaas is an age-old Dutch tradition, at which children get presents and candy. Sinterklaas is celebrated on December 5, but the tensions and expectations amongst children build up weeks before that date.
In Amsterdam, like in many other places in the Netherlands, Sinterklaas arrives in the country with a large parade (he arrives well before December 5, so he can prepare all the presents that have to be distributed).
Sinterklaas will be officially welcomed by the mayor of Amsterdam, and accompanied by hundreds of his helpers. These helpers used to be the 'Zwarte Pieten' ('Black Peets'). Nowadays, the blackface Peets have been replaced by Peets who have soot smear in their face, supposedly caused by them climbing through chimneys to deliver the candy and presents.
The 'official' arrival of 2015 (broadcast on national tv), in the city of Meppel, will have an official demonstration against Black Peets along the route of the parade.
It isn't very much in the news in the Netherlands now, probably because of the attacks in Paris, last night. Authorities say there is no reason for extra concern, but everyone is cautious, and scenarios for all circumstances are in place.
The parade in Amsterdam is very long, with many floats and it attracts thousands of children and their (grand) parents. The Peets will give pepernoten (sweets) to children (traditionally, they throw them around).
There will be hundreds of Pieten, who will have thousands of kilograms of pepernoten to hand out to the children.
Parade through town
12:30 Parade leaves from Scheepvaartmuseum / Kattenburgerplein
12:50 Foelistraat / Valkenburgerstraat
13:50 De Munt
14:10 Arrival at Dam Square
15:30 Closing of the parade
A map of the parade route
Child dressed up as Sinterklaas helper
Black Peets (Zwarte Pieten)
Sinterklaas Parade at Damrak