Sinterklaas Is Here

Intocht
Sinterklaas arrived in the Netherlands today, thus beginning the holiday season here. For the next few weeks, kids will set their shoes out in hope of receiving chocolate letters, peppernoten, marzipan, and other treats and gifts. The big culmination is 5 December, pakjesavond, when more gifts are exchanged, after being elaborately wrapped in unusual packaging and a humorous poem accompanies each gift.

Therefore, the shopping season has begun. Know what would make a great gift? A special Utrecht calendar! You can roll it up and fit it inside a shoe, or a stocking, or wrap it up normally and put it under a Christmas tree. It could also make an excellent Hanukkah gift. The options are endless really. Fortunately, I know just the calendar. A year’s worth of photos of some of Utrecht’s loveliest (and humorous) spots. I carefully went through all of my photos to find just the right picture for each month, including a photo of Sinterklaas arriving in November! Enjoy!

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.

Sinterklaas

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

Parking