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 Sinterklaas and why does he give out presents on December 5th? Why does Sinterklaas 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 old Sinterklaas comes to town. The Dutch don’t always respond well to such questions and sometimes they simply pity your stupidity.
“Do you think the pope knows his hat is missing?”
“If I pledge allegiance to Sinterklaas do I still get gifts from Santa?”
“How many hours do you think Sinterklaas spends grooming his beard every morning? He’s very metro for an old man.”
“Who do you think would win in a fight? Sinterklaas or Santa?”
“Do you think it’s like this all year around in Spain?”
“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?”
“Do you think the Pieten get confused whenever anyone calls out their name? Do they all answer?”
“If I’m on Santa’s naughty list am I automatically on Sinterklaas’ naughty list as well? Because if so I’m in trouble.”
“Do you think Sinterklaas realizes that owning a steam boat is not very good for his carbon footprint?”
“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?”
All About Sinterklaas