Sinterklaas 2011

I’m already 2 weeks behind in the renovation blog but I first have to write about our first Sinterklaas in Deventer.

It was a cold wet windy (is this a Winnie the Pooh start?) saturday morning. We thought that the arrival of Sinterklaas would be cancelled because of the weather but still went out to go to the place where the Zwarte Pieten (Black Pete) would host some games for the kids.
A little boat telling us Sinterklaas is really coming.

Then we saw the Dutch flag flying from the big church, the sign that the Goedheiligman (Good saintly man, a nick name for Sinterklaas) would be arriving by steam boat on the river. All wrapped up we went to the river with two buggys. We were already cold and wet before we were there but there were boats on the river with lots of Zwarte Pieten and they were playing and having fun.
A music boat
So Niene decided she wanted to stay and wait for Sinterklaas. We tried to shield the little ones from the wind by standing in front of them but the wind was playing as well and would once in a while drop and than a few minutes later start again from a different direction.

Niene is waiting for Sinterklaas in the rain and wind....

After a while we were rewarded with the arrival of the big steamboat where Sinterklaas was standing on deck waving to everybody. Even he was wearing a sort of see through plastic rain shield .

Sinterklaas if finally arriving!
We thought of going home after that but we spotted Americo. Americo is Sinterklaas’ horse and Niene had been asking and asking to pet Americo. She has seen Sinterklaas and Americo on television for weeks when she watched the Sinterklaas new bulletin (

So we did not go home but went to Americo and watched him for a while. In the meantime lots of Zwarte Pieten ran, walked and played around on the street.

Different Zwarte Pieten

They were also distributing lots of “strooigoed” ( a mix of lollies and little biscuits). They would put it in Niene’s jacket so it would not get wet and she could reach it and eat them…. Finally she was allowed to pet Americo and watch Sinterklaas as he got on the horse. After that a whole parade of a music band, Zwarte Pieten and Sinterklaas went through the city and we followed them for a while while they were on route to our place.

Sinterklaas in the rain

Later in the afternoon my brother and family arrived and on Sunday also my brother in law and my mum arrived and while we were just sitting in the lounge talking there was loud banging on the garage door downstair and the strooigoed flew throught he house.

Everyone went downstairs and Zwarte Piet had dropped so many gifts that it took all the adults and Neleke (my niece) to get all the parcels upstairs. After that the unwrapping of gifts and reading of poems started…….. It lasted the whole afternoon. Neleke en Niene helped Pieter (my brother) distribute the gifts and helped looking for parcels. For Andrew and Niene this was the first time to participate in what is called “pakjes avond” (Gift night) to celebrate Sinterklaas’s birthday. For me it had been a long time since I celebrated this in this way and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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