Santa Claus, the one and only real Dutch Santa, sails from Spain to the Netherlands on a sturdy steamer called “Stoomboot”. This powerful boat is filled with gifts and sweets for any Dutch Child. Santa’s “Stoomboot” arrives in mid-November.
Arrival of Saint Nicolas steamer in Dutch harbor broadcasted life on National TV
The spectacular arrival of Santa is broadcasted live on national television and of course, all Dutch children watch this event back home maybe preparing their Santa Claus wish list as well. While at the port of Santa’s arrival children stood lined up for hours, full of expectations, waiting for “Sinterklaas” while singing Santa Songs. immediately after arriving Dutch Santa moves on. He visits every town and village in the Netherlands to collect the wishlists from the children. The holy man never forgets a child. Every city and village in the Netherlands welcome Sinterklaas and his helpers on Mid-Novembers Saturdays. If there is a waterway in the area Sinterklaas usually arrives by boat. If there is no river or canal the holy man might arrive by car, carriage, horse, or any fancy means of transport.
Santa Claus’ helpers sail the Sturdy Steamer called ” Stoomboot”
The lovely Dutch Santa has many helpers. All helpers are called “Piet”. The helpers sail the Sturdy Steamer. Quite a dirty job actually. On the ship the helpers – the “Pete’s” in English but in Dutch we say “Pieten”- have to keep a huge fire going to operate the steam engines. To get this done dozens of Pete’s burn charcoal. Their fire starts with a lot of smoke and soot. This dirt covers Pete’s skin as he has to be standing next to the fire feeding it with charcoal. Pete’s huge fire keeps the water boiling thus keeping the pressure on the steam kettles high enough, to keep the steamships engines going. Children love these Piet-Persons as long as they are not too dirty and took it easy with black makeup. By now you should realize, the arrival of Dutch Santa – Saint Nicolas – is quite an event. National television even broadcasts the arrival of the Saint live. Each year a different city is chosen for the Saint to come ashore. The Saint is called “Nicolas” in English but Dutch children call the holy man usually “Sinterklaas”. The mayor and his dignitaries welcome Sinterklaas upon his arrival in the harbor. When all children and their parents sing special Santa Songs.
From Mid November till December 5 the holy Bishop tours The Netherlands
Sinterklaas stays in the Netherlands from mid-November until December 5. During this period, a daily Santa Claus journal is broadcasted on national television. The first broadcast of the Sinterklaas news bulletin starts already in the first week of November.
Santa Claus visits each family. Pete crawls through chimneys to deliver presents.
Usually, children put their shoes next to the chimney to receive Santa’s presents or send him a wishlist. In the shoe, most children put nice things like carrots and hay for Saint Nicolas’s horse. At night, Sinterklaas rides over the rooftops on his white horse Amerigo and places traditional sweets and gifts in the children’s shoes. Traditional sweets are Pepernoten, marzipan, and chocolate letters. Santa buys these delicacies at bakeries and supermarkets.
The Birthday of Saint Nickolas
On December 5, the birthday of Sinterklaas is celebrated and loads of gifts are exchanged. Sinterklaas and his helpers really exist, it’s not a made-up story. Until the age of 6 or 7 years, lots of children see the white bearded man racing on his gray Lippizaner horse named Amerigo over the rooftops. For an exact date of Santa’s arrival in any a Dutch town check at the tourist office.
The lovely evening has come… On 5 December, many Dutch people celebrate ‘gift night’ with treats and presents. The most popular gift is Lego but dolls and books are very common as well.
History of Santa Nicolas and Santa Claus
Many people believe it is not certain if St. Nicholas really existed. St. Nicholas is probably Bishop Nicholas who lived around the fourth century AD in Myra, a city in present-day southern Turkey. Very little is known about the life of Bishop Nicholas; it was only centuries later that Nicholas was venerated in many places in Europe. The Feast of St. Nicholas is a primarily Catholic festival celebrated on Dec. 5. A Sinterklaas feast is celebrated in the Netherlands, in Belgium, some parts of France, Curacao, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. In some countries such as England, France and Germany, the feast of St. Nicholas got mixed up with Christmas and St. Nicholas changed identity and turned into the Weihnachtsmann, Père Noël, Father Christmas and Santa Claus. The Pete’s sometimes transformed into angels or lhbt-fairies.