The end of ‘Zwarte Piet’? Just Soot Pete’s at arrival of Sinterklaas in 2018

During the national Sinterklaas arrival this year only Soot Pete’s will be accompanying Sinterklaas. This reports the NTR, which is responsible for the TV registration and the whole organization of the event.

On their website, the NTR writes: “The Petes have some soot and dust on their face because they are going through the chimney.” According to whether a Piet has gone through the chimney more often, he or she has more soot on the face.”

Zwarte Piet in 2018

A spokesperson states that the choice “fits in with the trend of recent years”. Tradition and change go hand in hand, says the NTR. The national arrival of the saint is on 17th of November in Zaandijk and the Zaanse Schans.

Also last year at the entry in Dokkum there were soot piets. Back then there were also traditional zwarte pieten. The whole day was also filled with protests.

Sinterklaas news

Just as with the national arrival, the Sinterklaas news broadcast in NTR program will only be visible. The hair of the pieten varies from long and curly to straight and short. The Pete’s do not wear gold earrings.

Last year the NTR decided to stop with the ‘rainbow-colored’ people in the Sinterklaas news. According to the broadcasting, multi-colored pieten did not fit in the tradition and did not look nice either (outright horrendous we say).

Like any other ‘Zwarte Pieten’ news in 2018, this Soot Pete news will undoubtedly cause a cultural shitstorm. Anything to add to this discussion?

Here’s the excellent Arjen Lubach on Zwarte Piet last year:

Feat image from: FlickR/FaceMePLS


Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Founded DutchReview. Rotterdammer living in Leiden. Politics, innovation and epic food-reviews are his thing. Interested in doing anything with DutchReview? Contact him at abuzer[at]


  1. I lived in Holland between 2003-6 in Den bosch whilst working for an anglo-dutch company.
    As a black man I found the entire festival perplexing and horrendous. I have been in highly racist situation before -in the UK and Germany- but Sinterklaas is very much like being in the Twilight Zone. This is because to any rational person with half a brain and who is aware and knows about Dutch colonial history and involvement in the African slave trade -for over 200yrs- the Zwarte Piet is as racist as one can get.

    It is not for white Dutch to tell black’s (Dutch or non-dutch) what is or is not racist.

    Racism is about power and discrimination. Sinterklaars perpetuates the disgusting stereotypes that white society- in general -has about blacks. The weird thing is that I don’t think Dutch people have ever reconciled their involvement in the slave trade and in this denial they wash their hands of the said racism that is now at a subliminal level. This invariably clashes with the perception of themselves as being tolerant and non-racial.

    So how can we the Dutch be racists….a white Dutch person says to himself as he blacks-up :-(.

  2. This is so ridiculous. Arguing about a nice tradition being racist just because some people paint their faces black. Who does this harm? Don’t you people have any real problems?


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