From next year, black painted Pieten will no longer be seen during the Sinterklaas arrival in Emmen. Sinterklaas Emmen has decided to do so. From 2023, only soot sweepers will be used, the organization says.
A few years ago, the foundation announced that it would stop sooner if Zwarte Piet was banned in Emmen. But the foundation has now decided to make that switch anyway. A matter of progressive insight, according to spokesman Wim Beverdam.
According to the organization, most children already grow up with soot sweepers. “And we experienced that this year during the entry. The children really don’t care,” said Beverdam. According to him, the share of dark make-up and soot smear during the Emmer entry this year was 20-80. “Children sometimes asked the darkly painted Pieten why they were so dark. It’s just the other way around in that regard.”
The soot has become the new normal among the children, that much has become clear to the foundation. “And we’re doing it for them, after all.”
When asked whether this can be regarded as a profit or loss, the foundation still cites the Emmer entry in 2019. The children’s party was then mainly colored by the blue of the police present, due to rising tensions between supporters and opponents of Zwarte Piet. “Only smiling and happy people, until we were told that ME was deployed on the Raadhuisplein,” the foundation writes on Facebook. “Only losers.”
There was also a large police presence this year. According to Beverdam, these vicissitudes did not play a role in the decision to switch completely to soot sweep. In recent years, it had already been decided to annually reduce the proportion of fully painted Piets, says Beverdam. “This year we were still at 20 percent dark make-up, so it was only a small jump to zero for us.”