Some 40,000 people turned up in Schiedam on Saturday to witness the annual ‘arrival’ of Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas, the inspiration behind Santa Claus.
The arrival of the Sint, ostensibly from Spain and accompanied by his helpers or Pieten (Petes), is always broadcast live on tv and marks the start of the Dutch festive season.
Dutch shopkeepers, who have seen sales down 10% this year because of the recession, are hoping for a last-minute surge in present-buying ahead of the December 5 celebrations.
For more on the Sinterklaas tradition, click here
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