BAD GODESBERG · In under a week, Dutch families will be exchanging holiday gifts. “Sinterklaas” paid a visit to the Dutch school in Plittersdorf.
In the tradition of the Netherlands, December 5 is the festive day when holiday gifts are exchanged. 24 students from the Dutch school in Plittersdorf were already visited by the Dutch “Sinterklaas” and his helper “Zwarte Piet”. “Sinterklaas has been coming already for years to our school,” says Louise Mastenbroek from Board of the “BibeleBonnseBerg School.” She adds, “We are a school for language and cultural instruction, and Sinterklaas is a part of our culture.”
Students from the ages of four to twelve welcomed the holiday figures with traditional songs and dance from the Netherlands, common at Sinterklaas time. The children wore colorful hats they had made from paper.
“The tradition is that Sinterklaas already comes with a steamship in mid-November to the Netherlands,” explains Mastenbroek. While Sinterklaas resembles the German Nikolaus, Zwarte Piet has his skin painted black, a tradition that has received some criticism in the past years.
The Dutch school is in the basement of the American church in Plittersdorf. It was founded by the Embassy of the Netherlands, which had received many requests from parents. Instruction takes place once a week. It is officially recognized by the Netherlands but does not receive financial support. A second location for instruction can also be found in Cologne, and they have 15 students.
(Orig. text: Alexander Grantl)