Dutch News

3 November 2014
Black Pete, the helper of St Nicholas stays black in most municipalities

On November 15 the traditional child friend St Nicholas will make his entry on several location in the Netherlands. Traditionally his helpers, the so-called Black petes will accompany him, and although there has been furious discussions about his racist nature, in most cities his appearance will not change much.  Some wait for the outcome of an appeal at the Council of State On November 12, that judged that Black Pete is objectionable for none-white citizens.  

In most places where St Nicholas arrives, Black Pete will stay black. From the 211 municipalities that organise the entry, only 6 decided to change the appearance of the helpers. At the official entry in Delft some Pete’s will be grease painted in cookie and cheese colours. Also in Amsterdam the Pete’s will not be totally black anymore. It turns out that the appearance of Pete changed anyway trough out the years. They have less and less fat red lips and also the curly hair is disappearing.


In July the Council of State judged that the appearance of Black Pete is objectionable for none-white minorities. The court based its verdict on article 8 from the European Human Rights Treaty and on research from the city of Amsterdam that to dark skinned Amsterdam citizens the helper of  St Nicholas is an offensive figure, and that most none-coloured citizens understand this totally.



Survey: Zwarte Piet to remain black in most towns and villages





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