• Saturday, March 25, 2023

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  • Arrival of Sinterklaas in Amsterdam

    The day when Sinterklaas arrives in town is something every child in Amsterdam is looking forward to. Every November, in the middle of the month, this white-bearded man in red clothes returns to the city from his home in Spain, marking the start of the weeks-long festive fun!

    Sinterklaas vs. Santa Claus

    It’s hard not to notice that Sint looks a lot like Santa Claus. Both have long thick white beards covering their faces, both wear red, both bring presents for children. But as we know, appearances can be deceiving.

    Even though Santa Claus and Sinterklaas work ‘in the same sector’, they are two different figures.

    Sinterklaas is Dutch Saint Nicholas, who arrives in the city in the middle of November, starting the parade that lasts daily for a couple of weeks. On December 5, the parade ends with Sint giving presents to kids. He is the patron saint of children rewarding those who behave well.

    Santa Claus, in turn, brings presents on Christmas.

    The Parade in Amsterdam

    Sint arrives in town on a boat with half a thousand of his assistants and sails down the Amstel River, passing the Nieuwe Amstelbrug, the Torontobrug and the Magere Brug.

    Source: Public Domain Pictures
    Source: Public Domain Pictures

    Then, at the Scheepvaartmuseum, after being welcomed by the mayor, Sinterklaas trades his boat for a beautiful white horse called Amerigo and goes through the streets of Amsterdam, throwing candies and cookies to the crowd.

    In the afternoon, Sint and his friends stop at Dam Square with a special music program, after which they proceed to Leidseplein where Sinterklaas gives the speech from the balcony of the Stadsschouwburg.

    The parade continues on a daily basis until December 5, which is the Big Day when Sint gives presents to kids.

    This year, Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam on November 19th and the parade starts at 10:00.


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