Fun fact: The Amsterdam version of the movie “Elf” stars Samuel L. Jackson.
The Netherlands and Belgium are two countries that pride themselves on progressive laws and open societies, but critics say they are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to depictions of Santa Claus and his helpers.
Saint Nicholas, or “Sinterklaas” in Dutch, brings presents to children on December 5 in the Netherlands and on December 6 in Belgium, and is always accompanied by at least one assistant dressed in 17th century costume who has a blackened face.
The tradition has been difficult for Dutch and Belgian people to explain, where “Zwarte Piet” (Black Pete) is viewed with outrage or ridicule.
For most Dutch and Belgians Zwarte Piet is an innocuous fairytale character who assists Sinterklaas and hands out candy to children, but some there too argue he is a harmful stereotype best done away with.
It’s not racist; it’s just that there are no real black people in those countries. /snark