Questions About Sinterklaas

Questions About Sinterklaas

The arrival of Sinterklaas can be a very confusing time for expats in Holland. It’s a tradition that raises a lot of questions for those who are unfamiliar with it. Who is he and why does he give out presents on December 5th? Why does he live in Spain? Who are his helpers the Zwarte Pieten?

However, over the years I have come to realize that there are certain questions that it is simply best not to ask when The Sint comes to town. The Dutch don’t always respond well to such questions and sometimes they simply pity your stupidity.

1) “Do you think the pope knows his hat is missing?”

2) “If I pledge allegiance to Sinterklaas do I still get gifts from Santa?”

3) “How many hours do you think Sinterklaas spends grooming his beard every morning? He’s very metro for an old man.”

4) “Who do you think would win in a fight? Sinterklaas or Santa?”

5) “Do you think it’s like this all year around in Spain?”

6) “Do you think Sinterklaas works on pakjesavond so he can have Christmas off? Or do you think Santa works on Christmas so he can have pakjesavond off?… or both?”

7) “Do you think the Pieten get confused whenever anyone calls out their name? Do they all answer?”

8) “If I’m on Santa’s naughty list am I automatically on Sinterklaas’ naughty list as well? Because if so I’m in trouble.”

9) “Do you think Sinterklaas realizes that owning a steam boat is not very good for his carbon footprint?”

10) “Can you OD on pepernoten? Because I might need an ambulance.”

And the number one question that you must never ever ask a Dutch person:
“Why is Santa riding a horse?”


Still have questions? So do I. Check them out in: More Questions About Sinterklaas

22 responses to “Questions About Sinterklaas”

  1. Iooryz says:

    You made me smile again. And out of personal experience:
    You can OD on pepernoten
    If you pledge allegiance to Sinterklaas, you still get presents from santa, if you pledge to him too. But just fewer from both to keep it even for the other kids.

    And about the horse? Who do you think, invited old spice?

  2. What about if Sinterklaas met Santa – would the resultant shock cause the world to implode?

    Currently, of course, they act as a backup to one another. Who would give out presents if they both died? Does a new Sinterklaas/Santa emerge phoenix-like from the ashes? And would this new one be pre-aged or would he have to wear a fake beard for awhile to keep appearances up?

  3. AQK1982 says:

    You have so many questions for the short periode Sinterklaas is here. Perhaps you can write him a letter so he could explain it to you? Here is the address: Sinterklaas & Pieten, Sinterklaashof 1, 5670 NA Nuenen.

    Good luck….

  4. Citizen Stu says:

    Iooryz – You’ve been hospitalized by pepernoten?

    Unexpected Traveller – I believe they call this the ‘Back to the Future Part 2 Sinterklaas Effect’

    AQK1982 – For real? Because I might write to him for a future post :p

  5. Yvette says:

    I just tried some of these over lunch w my Dutch coworkers. They basically just started insulting Santa saying he was the same thing as Sinterklaas except manufactured by the Coca-Cola company.

    That was fun. :D

  6. AQK1982 says:

    Stu – Yes, you can really write Sinterklaas on that address and also get a respons back from him ;-).

  7. Dragonlady says:

    What is pepernoten?

  8. Citizen Stu says:

    Yvette – That’s not so nice of them but in a way they are right. The tradition of Sinterklaas was taken to New York and later became Santa.

    AQK1982 – I am so doing that.

    Dragonlady – They are the small round speculaas biscuits we were telling you about.

  9. I think the “naughty list” question will be answered when Sinterklaas drags you to Spain to a beating of sticks.

    Although, considering how it must be difficult to maintain the upkeep his splendid metrosexual beard, he might cut you some slack. Beating with sticks may ruin his handiwork.

    (And I almost, ALMOST put myself on Sinterklaas’s list because I originally spelt his name as “Sinterklaus”…)

  10. Nienke says:

    As I was totally in awe of the suggestion AQK1982 made, I looked it up on the interwebs and it said you have to include a stamp in order to receive a response, thought I’d share that with you. And a big thank you AQK1982, I’ve always wondered wether it would be possible!

  11. Windmill Tales says:

    So many fab questions, that really do need answering!!!

  12. Windmill Tales says:

    Oh and please write to him and see what the answers are!

  13. Citizen Stu says:

    Barb – If miss spelling is a crime in his book I’m being dragged to the worst part of Spain.

    Nienke & Windmill Tales – I am so going to do it next year for my Sinterklaas post. I’m guessing it’s a little late now he is here.

  14. Bart says:

    When I was in college, we did a sketch. I was dressed as Sinterklaas, my friend was Santa. We both entered the auditorium at the same time in the middle of a course, through different entrances, Santa with his Ho-ho-ho and me waving in a stately manner and my Pieten following me.
    Then we got sight of each other and started shouting at the other one: ‘what are you doing here’ ‘you’re two weeks early’ ‘yeah? says who? you were here in the shopping mall before your boat arrived!’
    Then it got ugly, and we started to throw chocolates and biscuits at each other shouting ‘I know you’ve been touching kids’ ‘Oh yeah? you pedophile!’

    Things got quite out of hand from there on, but it was a hilarious sketch.

  15. IrishAngel says:

    Why does Sinterklaas have a postal address in Nuenen of all places…..
    Saying that, its just down the road from me, maybe i’ll call in unexpectedly and see if the throws circle parties also!

  16. Citizen Stu says:

    Bart – You’re lucky you did not get sued by Sinterklaas or Santa.

    IrishAngel – With all the Zwart Pieten I bet it is a circle party several miles wide.

  17. Otto von Münchow says:

    Read you post with a big smile. Thanks for sharing

  18. Citizen Stu says:

    Otto – Thanks. I’m glad you liked it.

  19. Alicia says:

    I saw Sinterklaas coming on a boat in Almere along with Pieten on second boat. I am just wondering.. do Spanish people know about him? And does he speak Spanish? Because that would be logical if he lives there.. But I have to admit- free pepernoten.. lekker!

  20. Citizen Stu says:

    Alicia – Good question. Maybe the Spanish see him about town but don’t know anything about it. They might think he is just an eccentric old man.

  21. Yvette says:

    Stu- it’s not that I didn’t know Santa isn’t Sinterklaas in disguise, I just find it not particularly important in the pecking order because I’m still going to be on Team Santa. Sort of like how Brits like to tell me how American football is a descendant of rugby- ok, that’s nice, but what’s your point exactly and do you think I’m going to stop following American football as a result?

    I guess my point is I’m sure the Greeks and Romans got into arguments of a similar nature regarding Zeus morphing into Jupiter, so whatevs. ;)

  22. Thomas Adriaan Hellinger says:

    Santa vs Sinterklaas in a fight you say? I’ll bite.

    *Weight Class – Santa ways at least two or three times what Klaas does, however most of it is pure blubber. Regardless, in a grappling match Claus simply has to obey the law of gravity and the fat lady (Mrs. Claus?) will sing. Point: Santa Claus

    *Speed – While Santa certainly outclasses Klaas in pure mass, he makes up for it by a lack of mobility. I am almost certain that he might have lost one or both of feet to diabetes, and it’s a miracle the man can move without a rascal. Point: Sinterklaas

    *Backup – Sinterklaas has a horse and a boatload of black midgets, whereas Santa has eight flying reindeer and an army of elven midget slaves. One might assume that the flying reindeer would give the edge to Santa, but one has to consider the very high likelihood of the elves going Bolshevik and turning on Claus for over 200 years of serious labor law violations. I’m calling this a draw. Point: Undecided

    *Killer Instinct – Santa Claus is typically held as the antithesis of blind murderous rage, but considering the aforementioned mass slavery and assuredly associated “motivations” / crippling beatings / example makings one has to assume some well hidden nastiness. On the other hand, Sinterklaas openly advertises that he will cold friggin’ beat naughty children, bag ‘em and take them off to Spain as slaves to paint oranges orange. Point: Sinterklaas

    Based on my preliminary analysis I would put my money on Sinterklaas.

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