Dutch Ministry of Education: Get Zwarte Piet as a blackface tradition out of Dutch schools
  • Petitioned Sinterklaas

This petition was delivered to:

Dutch Ministry of Education

Dutch Ministry of Education: Get Zwarte Piet as a blackface tradition out of Dutch schools

    1. R Coenen
    2. Petition by

      R Coenen

      London, United Kingdom

Most people in The Netherlands do not seem to understand that the national december 5th holiday of Saint Nicholas day ('Sinterklaas') brings back an anual racist tradition: Sinterklaas visits with a small army of helpers: Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes). White guys dressed up in blackface. This is an offensive image is embraced as a cherished tradition by the vast majority. Holland has to move on and break with the racial tradition, and this starts with education. Sinterklaas is here to stay, but it's time for Zwarte Piet to go. Legally banning Zwarte Piet from Dutch school will lead to a debate among parents, teacher and children paving the way for the rest of Dutch society to accept Zwarte Piet is outdated.

Special note to my fellow Dutch visitors: This petition is not to stop our great tradition of Sinterklaas. This is about modernising the tradition. We have celebrated the Sinterklaas tradition for many years before we added a century ago, during slavery, Zwarte Piet to the tradition. That might have seemed ok at that time- but looking back we have to acknowledge this is actually a racist blackface tradition.

A possible solution could be to keep Zwarte Piet, but not as a blackface. We should rather just put some sooth (from the chimney) on Zwarte Piet's face: exactly as how the songs go and how we used to do it before we introduced the current racist blackface Zwarte Piet.

Please listen to your international friends outside of The Netherlands (I know, listening to others, not our best quality) and take their advise: it is time to move on for a better Netherlands for everyone.

Please sign this petition, and ask the Dutch Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker to legally ban Zwarte Piet as a blackface from Dutch schools.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,000 signatures
    2. Forbes: The Unbearable Whiteness of Piet-ing: Dutch Santa's Blackface Elves

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer
      The Unbearable Whiteness of Piet-ing: Dutch Santa's Blackface Elves - Forbes

      VideoChristmastime on Amsterdam's Prinsengracht. Photo: John Giuffo Christmastime in Amsterdam has a special kind of magic, and a unique kind of controversy. White lights slide down buildings and arch across shopping streets, multiplying their twinkle in canal reflections. No garish multi-color, animatronic ego contests anywhere. You will hear Christmas music, but you're [...]

    3. Reached 750 signatures
    4. Black Pete exposes the Netherlands' problem with race

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      Published by The Guardian on dec 5th / Sinterklaas Day. Not a coincident. Holland, wake up!

      Black Pete exposes the Netherlands' problem with race

      I once heard a joke that went something like this: when the world is coming to an end, move to the Netherlands because everything happens there 50 years later. A bit harsh, I thought, after all, the Dutch are a relatively progressive people with much to recommend them: from the high level of volunteering to absence of hysteria around subjects such as cannabis, prostitution, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

    5. Reached 500 signatures
    6. Dutch Black Pete Santa Tradition Re-Examined, Blackface Deemed Offensive

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      Picture below: Princess Máxima of the Netherlands with 4 blackface Black Petes.


      Dutch Black Pete Santa Tradition Re-Examined, Blackface Deemed Offensive

      The "Black Pete" Santa tradition of the Netherlands may be shocking to most Western cultures - the Santa-in-blackface image is dissonant and appears inarguably racist to most seeing it for the first time - and a fierce debate has erupted anew over whether the custom should finally be retired by locals.

    7. Fashion model Doutzen Kroes on Zwarte Piet

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      Victoria's Secret Angel and L'Oreal top model Doutzen Kroes speaks out against Zwarte Piet because of racism - and gets ridiculed by 4 white guys, including the show presenters and Jan Pronk, former Minister for Development Cooperation and current Secretary-General and Head of Mission for the United Nations


      Doutzen Kroes on Zwarte Piet

      Dutch fashion model Doutzen Kroes (Victoria Secrets, etc.) is asked on a Dutch talk show 'are you ever feeling ashamed for being Dutch?'. She replies with 'Yes, I am ashamed of Zwarte Piet'.

    8. Huffington Post (USA) reports criticism on Zwarte Piet is growing

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer
      Dutch 'Black Pete' Holiday Tradition Criticism Grows

      AMSTERDAM - Foreigners visiting the Netherlands in winter are often surprised to see that the Dutch version of St. Nicholas' helpers have their faces painted black, wear Afro wigs and have thick red lips - in short, a racist caricature of a black person.

    9. Complaining about racism helps: City of Amsterdam against Zwarte Piet

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      Complaining about racism helps: Today Reuters picked the story up and a Amsterdam municipal executive (wethouder) responsible for the Diversity and Citizenship policies of the City of Amsterdam publicly declared "Zwarte Piet is racist and outdated"


      Time for Santa to wave vaarwel to Black Pete?

      Credit: Reuters/Stoyan Nenov/Files A performer dressed as Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) arrives to deliver presents to children during a festival organised by the Dutch embassy in downtown Sofia, December 5, 2009.

    10. Dutch Father Christmas's blacked-up helpers banned for being 'racist'

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      Former Dutch colony of Suriname to legally ban Zwarte Piet from schools. Exactly what this petition is asking for.

      Click the link below to read more

    11. Slate.com: "In Holland, Santa Doesn’t Have Elves. He Has Slaves"

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      Slate.com on Holland's racist Christmas tradition Dutch people have begun fighting about.
      Pretty good to see this is being picked up internationally as the internal debate in The Netherlands has failed due to sabotage, death threats and police brutality.

      See the link below for the full article.

      Slate Magazine - Politics, Business, Technology, and the Arts

      What Really Disturbs Us About the NY Post Subway Death Cover

    12. SInterklaas parade in Vancouver cancelled due to Zwarte Piet

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      First the first time in 2 years the Sinterklaas Parade in Vancouver has been canceled. Reason: His wingman Zwarte Piet. The black community has protested against the blackface racist character Zwarte Piet marching in the parade and the organising committee has admitted, after "doing research" that "they have a point". I could not agree more with our follow Dutchies in Canada.

      The important bit is: it shows exactly why Zwarte Piet as a blackface is a problem: the tradition as it is not future-proof. In 2011 in a globalising world it is impossible to explain how a blackface character is racist everywhere - except for in The Netherlands.

      Please remember: the goal of this petition is to modernise the tradition by taking the racist element out and make it future proof, and not to simply cancel the whole parade without providing a fix. Please sign the petition: Sinterklaas needs to get fixed and brought back to Vancouver!

      More information in the link below.

    13. Reached 250 signatures
    14. Dutch in Canada celebrate Sinterklaas without Zwarte Piet as a blackface

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      For the first time the Dutch community in Canada will be celebrating SInterklaas without Zwarte Piet as a blackface.
      This is quite significant as this is the first Duct community abroad who recognizes that the Zwarte Piet blackface is a racist element in the cherished Sinterklaas parade that will be abandoned!
      Hopefully the Dutch in Canada act as an eye opener and their fellow Dutchies in The Netherlands will follow soon.

      The year 2011 seems to be a tipping point outside aswell as inside The Netherlands. Please sign the petition to create a critical mass and modernise Zwarte Piet by banning the racist blackface element out of the SInterklaas parade!

      Click the link below to read the article on the website of Canada's Vancouver Sun newspaper:


      Dutch Christmas Sinterklaas celebration slated for New Westminster Quay called racist

      A Dutch Christmas celebration planned for the Westminster Quay next Saturday is being criticized as having racist elements by members of the black community.

    15. Reached 100 signatures
    16. Why Zwarte Piet is a Blackface and how that is problematic

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      In order to understand why Zwarte Piet is a blackface - and why this is racist and wrong, just read the Wikipedia entry on Blackfaces. It is unarguably and historically racist and this 19th century racist tradition which is still alive in modern day The Netherlands. One cannot argue with facts.

      Click the Wikipedia link below to learn more


      Blackface - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville, in which performers create a stereotyped caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the proliferation of stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky on the plantation" or the " dandified ".

    17. Anti-Zwarte Piet activists arrest prompts new debate

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      The arrest of four people wearing t-shirts with the slogan ‘Zwarte Piet is racist’ during the Sinterklaas celebrations last weekend has given new impetus to the annual debate about St Nicholas’ assistant and political correctness.

      Freedom of speech is at stake - just to protect a racist tradition for the white privileged majority of Holland.


      Anti-Zwarte Piet activists arrest prompts new debate - DutchNews.nl - Features

      Features Anti-Zwarte Piet activists arrest prompts new debate - The arrest of four people wearing t-shirts with the slogan 'Zwarte Piet is racist' during the Sinterklaas celebrations last weekend has given new impetus to the annual debate about St Nicholas' assistant and political correctness.

    18. Sinterklaas pops up in London - but without the blackface Zwarte Piet...

      R Coenen
      Petition Organizer

      Award winning Brand design agency KesselKramer realised that using Zwarte Piet for a campaign to promote all-dutch brand Hema in London would be seen as absolutely racist. They found has a proper fix to the Zwarte Piet is a Blackface racist problem: rather than completely ditching the figure, he should be transformed to a character that has actually really chimney soot on his face from climbing through the chimney- exactly as how it is told to the kids in the Sinterklaas stories.

      Click the link below to read more about it on versheid.com


      Versheid - Online magazine dat onbeperkt houdbaar is.

      Een online magazine met muziek, design, fashion, tech en lifestyle artikelen die onbeperkt houdbaar zijn.


    Reasons for signing

    • Julius Ballerda DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES
      • 11 months ago

      it very important to respect each person in this world.. whatever color he/she had.for me, i rather not choose to let this people discriminate the color of being a human. it is very normal ,. so we should have respect for the others

    • Vanessa Emanuels AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
      • 11 months ago

      It's keeps the image of the suprior white man standing

    • martijn olinga GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS
      • 11 months ago

      as long we keep our black petes people will continue this argument.

      black pete is connected with racism and should stop. the longer we stay in this tradition the bigger the problem wil grow and one day it will collapse in to violent between proponents and opponents. collered petes or even better petes from all races the world is rich and living in holland is a simple sollution to create a better world

      • 11 months ago

      i want to rid the world of racist thoughts,actions and deeds

      • 11 months ago

      Because its racism hidden in the open for the world to see . And i say i am against ! you?


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