We choose to adopt a forward-looking perspective in the controversy surrounding Black Pete. Together, we want to make sure the arrival of Sinterklaas is full of creativity, inspiration and fun; a celebration for everyone where no one is excluded.

The ideal Pete is one that is not hurtful anyone. Since 2016, residents and organizations in Amsterdam-Southeast have organized the annual arrival of Sinterklaas in their borough, under the direction of the Nederland Wordt Beter (The Netherlands is Getting Better) foundation. This inclusive Sinterklaas celebration is realized in an innovative way.

The arrival in the borough of Southeast is aimed at taking the Sinterklaas tradition into the 21st century, by focusing on the children and providing them with a joyous occasion, which they can celebrate as equals, and which both young and old can enjoy equally, free of sadness or guilt.

The arrival of Sinterklaas in Southeast continues a long-standing tradition filled with surprises, sweets, music, gifts and decorations, but at the same time innovates by introducing the ‘friends of Sinterklaas’ to replace the Black Petes. This modern interpretation of the tradition clearly shows that the Sinterklaas celebration can be for everyone living in the Netherlands.

Target audience
The main target audience are children and young people aged 1 through 14. However, the arrival is open to everyone from Southeast, both young and old, and is accessible and easy to reach. Because of the subject and the diverse programming with, among others, popular artists from Southeast, the event attracts a young audience (bringing their brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents) from a variety of backgrounds.

Sinterklaas’s Helpers, the friends of Sinterklaas
But Sinterklaas (or ‘the Sint’ for short) is not arriving by himself in Southeast either. Due to his advanced age, the Sint has come to depend on the help of friends he has made throughout the years; not only to help him transport the presents, but also to make sure his arrival at the Amsterdamse Poort goes as smoothly as possible. This is why each year he enlists his Helpers: young residents of Southeast who like to have fun, and who bring a smile to the faces of everyone they pass on the street.