Hassle in Den Bosch about the Epiphany parade that will be held next Sunday. The Party for the Animals has asked questions about the camels and other animals that take part in the parade and also wants the African king and the Asian king no longer to be painted. The parade should be renewed. In Tilburg they are already there. They approach it very differently there.

    Profile photo of Tom van den Oetelaar

    Since 1930, a parade has been held in Den Bosch with Balthasar, Melchior and Caspar. The three wise men from the East, surrounded by camels, sheep and horses, walk to the nativity scene in St. John’s, where they give gifts to the Christmas child.

    The three kings are accompanied by a court and dozens of children, the mayor, the bishop and even a carnival band. People from all over the country come to see the spectacle. Yet there is now criticism.

    “Those animals don’t ask to be taken there with this.”

    The Party for the Animals thinks it is no longer appropriate to treat animals in this way. Eileen Samshuijzen, party leader in the Bossche city council: “Those animals do not ask to be taken there with this. They are taken away from their normal environment and are forced to perform a trick here for human entertainment. They cannot leave.”

    Robert van Straaten has been organizing the Bossche parade for many years: “It makes me a bit sad and sad that there are concerns about the welfare of the animals. When I talk about the animals that we use in Den Bosch for the entry, it is about animals that were born in captivity and are therefore used to people. The welfare of the animals is paramount.” He doesn’t think about changing the tradition just like that.

    They did that in Tilburg. Organizer of the Tilburg Star Parade Paul Spapens: “We have decided to radically adapt the traditional Epiphany Parade to the city that Tilburg is today,” he says.

    “There are 151 nationalities living in that city. Everyone should be able to participate. No animals belong to a modern parade. I think camels are fantastic animals, beautiful to see, but nowadays that is no longer possible.”

    “It would be nice if we could find someone who can play the Asian king.”

    Spapens also says that they no longer paint kings in Tilburg so as not to offend people. The Bossche organizer also likes that. Someone who is black has already been found for the black king, but someone will be painted for the Asian king on Sunday.

    The Party for the Animals thinks this is not possible because of the stereotyping of Asian men. Van Straaten: “I do not agree with that. But it would indeed be nice if we could find someone who can play the Asian king and has a skin color that matches.”

    “Den Bosch has stuck a bit in the traditional setting.”

    Why is it that Tilburg apparently feels that innovation and Den Bosch does not? The Tilburger Spapens does have a suspicion: “I think it is a wonderful example of the cultural differences between Den Bosch and Tilburg. Den Bosch is a beautiful city that has stuck a bit in the traditional setting.”

    “Tilburg is a completely different city,” he continues. “Here people just do it by themselves, a new idea but based on the original value of the tradition around Epiphany. That is solidarity, inclusiveness and sharing with each other.”