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Sinterklaas in Holland

Christmas Day in Holland is more of a quiet family day but the day that is widely celebrated is when Sinterklaas arrives!

Merry Christmas
City Gate

Through this gate Sinterklaas and his parade arrived in Amersfoort on Nov. 17, 2000. It was a chilly day, and the sun even came out to welcome him to our town. Children and their parents started gathering about an hour before the parade started and the streets were quickly full. There is nothing quite like walking around this historic town and seeing the streets decorated in anticipation of the visit from Sinterklaas.

Soon we could hear the parade coming and I jostled as close to the front of the line as I could trying to get a glimpse of what my first Christmas parade in Holland would be like.

This little boy was standing near to me. He is dressed as Zwarte Piet, as were a few other children that came to see the parade, and when I told him I wanted to take his picture for my friends in America I was rewarded with this fantastic smile.

Look at that smile

Here Comes the Parade

Beginning of the parade

The parades here are full of "Zwarte Piet". He's the helper of Sinterklaas sort of like the elves in the US but he supposedly carries the book with all the children's names and also is a jokester who plays tricks like pretending to put children into the bag of toys and carry them to Spain.

They rode every possible type of vehicle in the parade. Motorcycles, a vintage fire truck, a 4-seater bicycle with pedals and handlebars for all 4 people, a 3 people tandem pedal car, donkeys, a bus, unicycle - you name it. It was fun just waiting to see what they were going to show up on next.

Old Truck

The Many Faces of Zwarte Piet

Zwarte Piet
Another Zwarte Piet
Will the real Zwarte Piet stand up?
Zwarte Piet and Friend

and now........Sinterklaas!


Sinterklaas was at the end of the parade so the anticipation for the kids reached a finale. He rides on a white horse and wears a gorgeous costume of gold, velvet and lace. When he saw me with a camera he waved and I felt like a kid again, proving that the magic of the holidays spreads to all ages and all over the world.

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Copyright: Rollie Braam - 2000 - 2006
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