AMSTERDAM – Opponents of the Netherlands' "Black Peter" tradition have asked the City of Amsterdam to revoke the permit for a popular children's festival in which actors portraying St. Nicholas and his blackfaced helpers arrive at the city in a flotilla of ships.
"Sinterklaas," the Dutch version of Santa Claus, is portrayed as a lanky white man who arrives in November, accompanied by dozens of little helpers called Zwarte Pieten, or Black Petes — typically white people in blackface makeup.
The tradition is beloved by most Dutch people, but in recent years there have been growing complaints that Pete is a racist caricature.
On Thursday dozens of protesters attended a hearing about the permit at City Hall. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan will decide later this month.