Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet arrive in Leiden


  1. This is a great blog. Very informative. I'm a PhD student and am an avid cyclist in South Carolina. I hate cycling with my helmet (which is how I found your blog, btw), but I wear one because people around here get really uptight if I don't. I have a question about the above pictures, though. Could you explain the blackface make-up? Is this a traditional costume for a seasonal festival of some kind? I actually write about city mobility and culture so this is why I'm interested.

  2. Hi Dyscopia,
    Thank you for the nice comments :) I always wore a helmet in NYC but it's so much nicer to not have to worry about it. I am getting a bit spoiled in the Netherlands... they do have some of the best bicycle infrastructure in the world so helmets are truly unnecessary. I wish other places will build up safe passage for riders too. I have hope it will get better!
    In any case, Zwarte Piet is a tradition. He is Sinterklaas's helper and dutch people love to put on blackface and pretend to be Zwarte Piet every year.
    You can buy kits at the supermarket. Yeah.