Zwarte Piet and the Chimney Myth

In the controversy about the blackfaced figure of Zwarte Piet, defenders of the tradition often try to downplay accusations of racism. A very common argument has it that Zwarte Piet is black because he climbs down chimneys. This argument, it turns out, is not in line with the tradition. Zwarte Piet was never quite white. […]

The Colonial Hangover of The Netherlands

“Our culture is under threat. They want to abolish the Sinterklaas celebration and erect slavery monuments everywhere.” With those words the Dutch right-wing politician Rita Verdonk launched her 2006 election campaign. It sums up pretty much all of the sentiment of those defending the controversial tradition of Zwarte Piet. Each year, Saint Nicholas enters Dutch […]