Police urged to get tough on pro-Piet activists in blackface

Dancers dressed as Zwarte Piet

Anti-racism campaigner Sylvana Simons has called on the police to take the intimidation of people by pro-Zwarte Piet activists who are dressed up in blackface make-up more seriously.

Earlier this month four men dressed up as Zwarte Piet went to Simon’s house address in Amsterdam. She was not home at the time but described the action by ‘unrecognisable, unknown men’ as ‘threatening and intimidating.

The video the men made of their ‘visit’ includes Simon’s address, which has also put her in danger, the former television presenter said. Last Saturday Simons received a death threat in which the perpetrator said that he now ‘knew where she lived’. A suspect has now been arrested.

The same group also invaded a primary school in Utrecht last week which does not include Zwarte Piet in the Sinterklaas festivities and had to be told to leave by teachers.

The group’s leader Hugo Kuijper, a former member of anti-Islam group Pegida, told the Volkskrant he had not been approached or questioned by police about either action.


The discussion about Zwarte Piet has also blown up in the foreign press.

This week, the Washington Post newspaper has published an opinion piece stating

‘Speaking of extremes, some folks in the Netherlands think Zwarte Piet is so important, they get married in blackface, columnist Karen Attiah said.