Monday 16 May 2022

Amsterdam mayor to appeal Zwarte Piet judgement

Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan is to appeal against a court ruling in July that he must reassess the granting of a licence for the Sint Nicolaas procession last December.

That ruling said he 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.

Van der Laan told Dutch media on Thursday he had not done so because any discussion about the character should be for the Dutch people. When assessing the permit, he had only taken public order into account.


The mayor also announced that Zwarte Piet would change over the next four years. The black face paint, curly wig and red lips, seen as racist by opponents of the figure, will be toned down.

Piet’s appearance will be more that of someone who has been down a chimney to deliver presents and less that of a colonial stereotype, the mayor said.

He would not say what the changes will be because he did not want to spoil the surprise when the procession is held in December.


On Monday, anti-Zwarte Piet activist Quinsy Gario quit the discussions about the Sinterklaas festivities, saying Van der Laan had enough information to decide whether he would appeal or not.

It is not known when the case will be held.


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