Man threatens to blow himself up to protect the Zwarte Piet tradition

A Dutch man has been arrested after threatening to blow himself up. His cause? Protecting the Zwarte Piet tradition. It’s just the latest in the latest in the debate that continues to divide the Netherlands. 

That’s right. The man literally threatened to commit terrorism to save the right to wear blackface in the holiday season. There are two sides to every debate for sure, but once bombs start coming into it the party’s over.

At least that’s what the police thought. After receiving multiple reports from concerned citizens about the Facebook post they began an investigation. The threat was determined to be serious enough to arrest the 49-year-old suspect, according to RTL Nieuws.

An empty threat

A search of the man’s home turned up no evidence of explosives. But, despite the inflammatory threat, the man said he was shocked by the reactions and regretted the post. He’ll face magistrates court on Thursday.

Now the police are warning supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet that they shouldn’t go too far with their opinions.

“As long as no criminal border is exceeded, everyone can give their opinion. The reaction of this suspect which created a threat that innocent people could die exceeded that limit,” a police spokesperson said.

Earlier this week five people were arrested for attempted assault and arson against a meet-up for a group that is against Zwarte Piet. Last month it was announced that Zwarte Piet wouldn’t be present for Sinterklaas’s arrival in Apeldoorn in November.

When does defence or support of Zwarte Piet go too far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Feature Image: René Cortin/Wikimedia

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam has over six years experience writing about life in the Netherlands and leads the content team at DutchReview. She originally came to the Netherlands to study in 2016 and now holds a BA (Hons.) in Arts, a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and (almost) a Masters in Teaching. She loves to write about settling into life in the Netherlands, her city of Utrecht, learning Dutch, and jobs in the Netherlands — and she still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike (she's learning!).


  1. We have several close friends, young and old, who are black and are Dutch citizens. They think it’s little silly and a non issue for them. Unlike blackface in the US, which is an expression of racism, Swarte Piet is a cultural tradition in the Netherlands meant for children. Maybe people would feel better if Swarte Piet is also on horseback. Then Piet would have to pound children with candy from above. Not a good idea.

    There are a lot more important issues for which to set yourself on fire, commit arson or make inflammatory statements, such as global warming. On second thought, no one should set themselves on fire, commit arson or make inflammatory statements; they will only contribute to global warming and climate change.

    Bottom line, Leave Swarte Piet alone and instead fight for saving the world from extinction.

  2. Not a good idea but agree with him to keep the tradition alive. It is a tradition, how did politically incorrect come into the picture? We all know it has nothing to do with discrimination, it’s a tradition. If you do not like it then do not watch but don’t take other peoples tradition away. It was not created from hatred but now it is creating hatred. Just saying.


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