About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Amsterdam Gears Up for Arrival of Saint Nicholas and Black Pete

by Kathy Jones on November 1, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Font : A-A+

 Amsterdam Gears Up for Arrival of Saint Nicholas and Black Pete

Despite objections that 'Black Pete' is a racist symbol, Amsterdam is gearing up for the traditional arrival of Saint Nicholas and his jolly sidekick next month.

"The permit allowing Saint Nicholas' arrival in Amsterdam will not be revoked," the capital's mayor Eberhard van der Laan said in a letter.

Advertisement

Van der Laan's response comes after the city received 21 formal complaints from Dutch citizens earlier this month.

The complainants, many of whom are descendants from former Dutch colonies like Suriname and Curacao, asked Van der Laan to pull the permit for the festival planned for November 17 because of Black Pete's presence.
Advertisement

Saint Nicholas and his helpers traditionally "arrive" with a gift-filled boat from Spain on the third weekend of November.

Three weeks later, on December 5, the Dutch give each other gifts said to have been distributed by Saint Nicholas -- a Turkish bishop wearing a long red gown and mitre -- and Black Pete.

Dressed in a gaudy medieval costume, with a blackened face, red lips and an afro wig, Pete is seen by many ordinary Dutch as a harmless prankster cheering up a children's festival.

Opponents however say the character recalls the time when Dutch colonists exploited slaves, notably in the Caribbean colonies of Suriname and Curacao.

Although the debate surfaces every year, this year the row is particularly bitter after the Jamaican chair of a committee at the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Verene Shepherd, bluntly told Dutch television that "the practice must stop".

But Van der Laan said in his letter that "Saint Nicholas is a traditional children's festival".

"It is a lovable and beloved tradition. In Amsterdam alone 300,000 to 400,000 people, including many children, attend on the day," he said.

The mayor added that he continued talks with Black Pete's detractors as well as the event's organisers.

"Although there's mutual empathy from both sides and the discussion over Black Pete continues... as far as I know until now no solution has been found," Van der Laan said.

The annual festival dates back to the sixteenth century, but Black Pete first appeared in the 1850s.

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines May Improve Mental Health
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting approximately 340 million people in ...
Depression Symptom Evaluation
Depression occurs due to alterations in the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. ...
Holistic Management for Depression
Depression is a common disorder and many worldwide suffer from depression. Early recognition of ......

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use