Many of the Piets taking part in this year’s Sinterklaas parade in Amsterdam will have soot smudges on their faces rather than full black-face make-up, says Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan.
The use of new-look Piets is included in the licencing agreement for this year’s parade. Other Piets will not have earrings or big red lips but will retain the heavy black make-up, Van der Laan is quoted as saying by the Parool.
While the character of Zwarte Piet will remain part of the celebrations, over the years he will shed his negative stereotyping, the mayor said.
The Netherlands’ highest legal body is currently looking into the future of Zwarte Piet on behalf of the city council after a lower court ruled the character is a negative stereotype.
The court said the mayor needed to reconsider his decision to licence the 2013 parade because of this.
The lower court said Van der Laan must look again at whether he should have given the go-ahead for the procession because he had not taken the European Human Rights Convention into account with regard to the figure of Zwarte Piet.
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