Rutte about the Zwarte Piet Protest Violence: ‘Coked up Hooligans are to Blame’

As we all know, lots went on this weekend during the Sinterklaas arrival. There was a lot of violence, racism and general chaos at Sinterklaas parades. This has brought about a lot of political discussions.

Rutte criticized

Mark Rutte has now been criticised by anti-Piet protestors, news sites and other politicians for not fully condemning the violence which was carried out against anti-Piet protesters. The violence included racism, threatening behaviour and physical acts of violence, including throwing beer cans and eggs at protesters. This was especially prominent in Leeuwarden, Eindhoven and Groningen. Nijmegen even had to cancel the whole thing because of the violent threats.

As we have already reported – arrests were made all weekend in different cities. Some of these included people jumping out of cars and attacking people on the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, people making Nazi salutes, chanting racist slurs and causing general unrest. On the other side people also debate whether it’s decent to protest at something for kids, and that several ‘KOZP’ protestors left their designated protest area in Rotterdam.

Everyone should have a right to protest SAFELY

‘Football hooligans’ and ‘anti-socials’ to blame

Both Rutte and the police are under fire for how they have dealt with the weekend’s antics. The anti-Piet activists were on the most part peacefully protesting within the country. Football hooligans and ‘coked up anti-socials’ were said to be the main culprits, according to Rutte in a somewhat more firm statement today.

Some are calling for ALL protests about Piet to be banned, as did Klaas Dijkhof from the VVD on Facebook. However, the Netherlands should have the freedom to a peaceful protest, which is what many people did – but we’re not sure if that’s even possible.

It’s certainly an absolute mess.

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments!

Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.


  1. I was born in Holland, left when I was 8 not my choice all my memories are Saint Nicholas and swarte Piet happiest time in my life this is my 8th time back in Holland and love it ,I was bought up knowing he became Black in the chimney,what the he’ll is going on I’m now 72 lived in Australia for 64 years and this is what attacks me leave Swarte Piet with Saint Nicholas

  2. I agree that the protesters should not have been attacked. I also think it is terrible how the white boy called the little black boy black piet. It is so sad and so ugly that young children are becoming more and more racist and violent. On the other hand I do understand that Piet had a dark face simply because he came down the chimney and that it is part of a Christmas tradition in Holland so it is a bit silly to jump on that one thing and use it to begin a whole protest about it, but unfortunately it is a reflection of the black people who are made to feel uncomfortable during the rest of the year and not only at Christmas. I do feel sorry for them and it is worrying that parts of Europe are moving backwards again towards Nazism and racism towards anyone who is not Dutch or German. It is very sad.


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