Get ready! Coronavirus or not, that time of year is upon us when Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) makes his way to the Netherlands. Here are some details about his arrival and presence in 2021!
WHO/WHAT IS SINTERKLAAS?
After King's Day, Sinterklaas is the Netherlands' most important celebration. Sint and his helper, called Piet (Pete), bring presents to all children on December 5 to celebrate his birthday. Read all about him here.
The official National Sinterklaas intocht 2021 (arrival) will happen on Sunday 14 November. Sint's boat parade sails into Amsterdam via the Amstel at 10:00 and travels through several canals before disembarking at the Maritime Museum at 13:20. At this time, it is permitted for the public to welcome Sint along the boat parade route but the arrival at the Maritime Museum is for invited guests only.
Details about the timing and maps (downloadable) of the procession are available here.
Check for updates about the arrival of Sinterklaas and about COVID-19 safety rules from the official organisation, Sint in Amsterdam.
KEEPING UP WITH SINTERKLAAS
Every year, kids can follow Sinterklaas' progress on his annual travels to the Netherlands and the challenges upon arrival by watching the daily Sinterklaas Journaal on NTR/NPO Zapp.
WHAT’S UP WITH PIET?
Piet (Pete) is Sinterklaas' companion and helper in Dutch and Belgian folklore.
Originally Piet (Pete) was called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). However, in 2019 the official National Sinterklaas organisation decided to drop the blackface and have Sinterklaas only be accompanied by so-called Chimney Pieten. A move that was also followed by Het Sinterklaas Journaal and many celebrations in different municipalities in the Netherlands.
THE HORSE OF SINTERKLAAS
When Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands, he usually travels on his white horse. Over the years, this famous horse has changed and has had several names but since 1990, Sinterklaas' horse was Amerigo. However, last year (2019), Amerigo retired after serving for over 30 years and Ozosnel made its debut during the official National Sinterklaas arrival of 2019. The name of Ozosnel was derived from the Sinterklaas song “Hoor de wind waait door de bomen” (“Hear the wind blowing through the trees”), in which the passage “Ja hij rijdt in donkere nachten op zijn paardje, oh zo snel” ("Yes,on dark nights, he rides on his horse, oh so fast") is sung.
LETTER FROM SINTERKLAAS
As always, kids can send a letter to Sinterklaas and receive a reply from Sinterklaas. Weverkeshof is continuing the tradition this year, although Sinterklaashof itself will stay closed for the public.
To send a letter to Sinterklaas, please send letter by December 5th with a stamp to get a letter back. Please note if you want to receive a reply before Pakjesavond, your letter has to be received by December 1st. Here is the address:
5670 AJ Nuenen
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
The Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group administrators will make sure to post more links and information on when to put the shoe out (and how often), Santa Claus vs Sinterklaas, what presents to buy etc. We will also have our annual thread where you can share pictures of when you spotted Sinterklaas and/or of Sinterklaas' celebrations. Pictures of Sinterklaas at school and how he arrived are always a HIT! However, be aware that pictures with controversial Zwarte Piet will have to be removed due to Facebook's blackface rules.
Fijne Sinterklaas allemaal!
Cessna Kleinmoedig Veeris has shared her talents with Amsterdam Mamas in many capacities: Event Manager for the Spooky Buggy Parade and Santa Tram & Christmas Market for several years, Grant Writer, and now as an Admin in our main Facebook group. She has a 9 year old daughter and 2 year old son and is busy with them while embarking on her new journey as a working mom.
fPhoto Credit: Picture taken from the Dutch National Archives. November 21st, 1953: Sinterklaas arrival in Amsterdam. Prinses Margriet standing with Majestuoso, the horse of Sinterklaas.