Sinterklaas WILL arrive by boat this year β€”but with some extra COVID-19 precautions

To everyone’s delight, Sinterklaas will be returning to the Netherlands this year, but with some restrictions to ensure safety for everyone, says the municipal health service (GGD).

Yep, we’re rushing up on that time of year (at least, according to Dutch stores)! In mid-November, Sinterklaas, the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus, will be sailing to the Netherlands from Spain. πŸŽ…πŸ»

We’re not sure why he’s sailing from there, we’d be quite keen on a lekker sunny trip to Spain right now. β˜€οΈ

However, things will be a little different this pakjesavond (present night) on December 5. The GGD is advising precautions for this year’s celebrations to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, reports RTL Nieuws.

What does this mean?

This means that instead of Sinterklaas’ helpers (Pieten) handing out loose gingerbread cookies, they will all be handed out in bags to children. The candy is normally just in a huge sack and the helpers would rummage through before throwing the pepernoten at the crowds. 🍬

According to Christ-Jan van Dongen, a spokesperson for GGD West-Brabant, “The more you touch the candy, the greater the risk of the candy becoming contaminated with microorganisms.” Yuck.

Stuffing ourselves with pepernoten is just going to come with one extra step. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Just smile and wave, boys

The helpers are also encouraged to wash their hands frequently and to wave to kids instead of shaking hands. πŸ‘‹πŸΌ

Also, wearing hand jewellery is not advised because the GGD believes that it can be unhygienic and harbour microorganisms.

Coronapass of niet?

Cities are still trying to decide whether to ask for a corona pass to attend the intocht van Sinterklaas (Sinterklaas’ arrival).

Amsterdam has decided that attendees aren’t required to show their corona passes, whereas cities like Rotterdam are requiring them. Utrecht is still making up their minds on the topic. πŸ€”

What do you think about the rules for this year’s Sinterklaas? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Twixx/DepositPhotos (Modified)

Nicole Ogden πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡­ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Hailing from the bustling city of Bangkok, Nicole is a Thai/American international student who came to the Netherlands to study linguistics. When she's not reading books or listening to true crime podcasts, she's practising her singing and guitar skills! She is also attempting to pick up the Dutch language (moeilijk).


  1. Once again, the Dutch Sinterklaas is totally not “the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus”. Sinterklaas is a celebration period from half November (de intocht / the arrival) until 5 December. The figure of Sinterklaas has nothing to do with Christmas. After 6 December, we are expecting “de Kerstman” (Dutch translation for Santa Claus), he does exist, but is much less important and celebrated than Sinterklaas. De Kerstman is associated with Christmas, Sinterklaas definitely not.


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