5 December: Sinterklaas

Here in the Hague, the tension rises (and not just because we have the CCPA Annual General Meeting in Rotterdam tomorrow).

According to Dutch tradition, on the evening of December 5,  Sinterklaas is delivering his presents to every child’s home.  Sinterklaas (or more formally Sint Nicolaas ) is a traditional winter holiday figure still celebrated today in  the Netherlands, Belgium and some formerly Dutch territories such as Suriname, Curacao and  Bonaire. Usually referred to as Sinterklaas, he is also known as De Goedheiligman (The Good Holy Man),  or simply as De Sint.  He lives in Spain,  but travels to the Netherlands by boat every year, accompanied by his numerous assistants.

Despite his old age, Sint enjoys riding his horse over the Dutch rooftops by night and dropping candy through chimneys. During the daytime, he visits schools, department stores, hospitals and appears in television shows. In between he miraculously manages to keep record of  every child’s behavior, as only the well behaved will get presents tonight!  The  ‘bad’ ones risk to be taken back to Spain for at least a year of hard labour.

Fortunately the Good Holy Man just paid a surprise visit to our office, declared that we are all good children and even handed out chocolate to all of us. Perhaps he was pleased that we have so many images of him in Europeana?  Who knows. We can call carry on preparing for tomorrow’s event now.


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