Science - November 22, 2007

Zwarte Piet

Saturday 17 November marked the start of the festive season in the Netherlands. In good time for his birthday on 5 December, Sinterklaas, the Dutch St Nicolas, arrived in the Wageningen harbour on a steam boat from Spain accompanied by his ‘Zwarte Piet’ helpers.

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Each year children flock to the harbour to welcome the goedheilig man (saintly man) as he is called in Dutch, and to stuff their pockets with candy in the form of pepernoten and schuimpjes, handed out by the Zwarte Piets. Members of the Student Chaplaincy Wageningen accompanied international students to the event, explaining where necessary this very Dutch tradition, and treating them afterwards to soup, hot chocolate and sweets.

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