Tag Archives: Netherlands

Zwarte Piet : Putting Him Into Perspective, Again!

zwarte piet again

Image: cnn.com

So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still wear the same costumes.
They can still hand out candy.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and taai-taai,
and marzipan,
and kruidnoten,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you Piet (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (also relatively new).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
Kids and adults can even place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (again, new).
People can still exchange gifts.
Children can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.
And this is how you react?

1376638_196615273855651_1602619297_n

(Welcome in the Netherlands, where all cultures are permitted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

Fascism in America 5: A Little Detour to the Dutch Police

amsterdam rellen 1966

Image: anp-archief.nl

At first this post was going to be about authoritarianism. It is, but only in the Netherlands. When I write the next post about authoritarianism in America, a lot of it will deal with the police, and before discussing that, it’s important for you to know where I’m coming from. So, first a brief history lesson and a tour of my first workplace as a librarian. Continue reading

Fascism in America 1: Introduction

charlottesville fascism

Image: aljazeera.com

I was invited to speak at a meeting of an anti-fascist group today, specifically to give my insight from a Dutch perspective, as my country was occupied by the Germans during World War Two. Continue reading

Land of the Free to Be Ignorant and Ridiculous

Image: talkingpointsmemo.com

Image: aslkingpointsmemo.com

In the spirit of refueling, I downloaded an app with Dutch news from different media. And right away an article in Elsevier caught my eye.

It’s about a Muslim school in the town of Zaandam, that sued four parents of former students for slander and libel. Continue reading

Greetings!

011_edited-1Vagabond Urges wrote in yesterday’s post, The Secret to Europe, about greetings in Paris shops. He observed that when a customer comes in, he or she greets the person behind the counter. Who then reciprocates and things go on from there. If you don’t start off with a greeting, you get the cold shoulder. As an American, he had to get used to that.

So I started thinking about different greetings. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet and Ferguson

image: vrij-zinnig.nl

image: vrij-zinnig.nl

In a reply to a comment by Onno on one of my posts about Zwarte Piet, I mentioned that the Netherlands is still in the Stone Age when it comes to racial sensitivity. Onno responded by pointing to Ferguson. Continue reading