The Bijenkorf department store group is replacing the traditional automated climbing ‘Zwarte Piets’ which decorate its main halls every Sinterklaas with golden Piets.
The store group said it is making the change because because the new golden Piets fit better with the Bijenkorf’s upmarket image and not because of the ongoing debate about the future of Sinterklaas’ helper.
‘We are making the change because of our luxury premium experience strategy,’ a spokeswoman told DutchNews.nl.
The company has invested considerably in updating its stores and in Amsterdam focuses heavily on the luxury tourist market.
‘The choice of a golden climbing Piet underlines the development towards a luxury shopping experience,’ the statement said.
The character of Zwarte Piet, or Black Piet, is the subject of heated discussion in the Netherlands. Opponents argue that Piet is a racist stereotype while supporters say he is a harmless children’s friend.
There were calls for a boycott of Dutch high street retail group Hema last year following reports it was to phase out Sinterklaas’s controversial helper from gift packaging and displays.
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