Sailing With Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas Intocht

It’s that time of year again. Sinterklaas made his annual trip by steamboat from Spain to start his festivities here in the Netherlands. All across the country yesterday, Sinterklaas multiplied like Tribbles and made his grand entrance up and down canals, ports and rivers.


In Utrecht, he made his journey up the Oudegracht canal before disembarking at the Weerdesluis to then proceed on his trusty steed, Amerigo. From there they paraded through the center of town, heading to the Domplein and other locations, strewing pepernoten everywhere he and Zwarte Pieten went.

Ta Da!

For the next few weeks, until December 5, there will be a run on carrots and chocolate letters as kids and parents make the nightly exchange: kids leaving carrots in their shoes for Amerigo, and parentsSinterklaas leaving behind chocolate letters, pepernoten, and other small treats for the kids.

Pepernoten A.U.B

I keep meaning to buy some klompen (wooden shoes) for our furry kids to set out for Sinterklaas. After all, human kids aren’t the only ones that go see Sinterklaas’ arrival.
For Furry Kids, Too

It’s a good thing I went on foot yesterday to see the arrival. The city was packed and traffic was a nightmare. Parking was particularly tough. Even the city’s many squares, both small and large, were converted into parking lots for the day.
Extra Parking


14 thoughts on “Sailing With Sinterklaas

    • Supposedly carrots as we usually know them today are orange specifically because Dutch farmers cultivated them in support of William of Orange a few centuries ago.

  1. Great photos. Make me homesick. So what’s your take on Zwarte pieten? There’s a big discussion about them on the Sinterklaas post of Things Dutch People Like. Interesting that Sinterklaas’s horse now has a name. That’s relatively new!

    • Heh. I usually try to avoid the Zwarte Piet discussion. I can see both sides of it, but still, from an American perspective, it’s kind of disturbing sometimes. But then the kids all seem to love Zwarte Piet the most. The Pieten get more cheering than Sinterklaas. Basically, I’m just glad I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to make any kind of decision one way or the other.

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