Navigating faith, love, and life in the Netherlands

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Instagram Travel Thursday: Typical Dutch

Since I don't have many pictures this week from faraway travels, I thought I would post a collection of everyday-life type photos.

In the past few weeks, and it seems every fall, there has been "outrage" over Zwarte Piet.  Zwarte Piet, or, Black Pete, is Sinterklaas's helper.  Each year, Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands on boat from Spain with dozens if not hundreds of Zwarte Piets to help him.  He (ZP) is dressed in Moorish clothing and first made an appearance in the late 1800s/early 1900s.

The people playing Zwarte Piet (like Santa's elves) paint their faces black and accentuate big red lips, claiming that his skin is black because of the soot in chimneys.  Sometimes they also wear a black curly wig.

Some people claim his character and the proliferation thereof is racist, and others just want the dissidents to stop ruining the traditions.

What do you think? Wat denk je?

My question -- if the black is from the chimney, then why aren't there black smudges on his clothing too???

On Monday, winds reached 29mph (46km/h) in my town, and even higher along the coastline.  Trees were damaged, train service was interrupted, and a few people were injured or killed in various places.

Later in the day, we got some rain, and I noticed that the lighting outside was an interesting golden.  I peeked out the door (since I was about to cycle somewhere) and spotted a double rainbow!

The beauty reminded me that even through the storm, God is still with us!

This one is my favorite.  Autumn colors and a bright blue sky!

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  1. I don't know about the chimneys, but I do know all those people who play Black Pete do so voluntarily, do not feel subjected or humiliated and are basically just there to have fun with children. As we say over here, some people's toes are way too long.

  2. Gah, can't traditions just be left alone? Soon we will all become one :(

  3. What lovely photos. Such a pretty area. Love the rainbow one.

  4. Great to have you join us on #IGTravelThursday! This is a new subject for me, I wasn't familiar with the Black Pete at all. My guess is that when he was created it wasn't meant to be offensive and has just become part of traditions and therefore has remained..?

  5. Interesting tradition of Zwarte Piet. I'd never heard of that! It seems like whichever way you lean someone will be offended. Ugh! Beautiful rainbows!!


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