The Uptown Hostel
Sinterklaas vs Santa

You thought the X-mas guy with his flying sled & reindeers was invented by Coca-Cola, lives on the North pole, where his elves pack presents for kids? Not quite…he’s actually based on a Dutch legend called “Sinterklaas” that is the centre of one of the most famous celebrations in the Netherlands, and  which has been brought to the USA by Dutch settlers in the 17th century.

Although both Santa Claus & Sinterklaas sort of look similar with their red clothes, that’s where the similarities end. The Dutch legend is said to come on a boat full of presents from Spain (even though he was born in Turkey!), together with his black “Petes” and rides a white horse over the roof people’s houses to bring presents.

Dutch kids still fiercely believe in Sinterklaas and in the days leading up to December 5, young children put their shoes in front of the chimneys and sing a special 'Sinterklaas-song'. Often the shoe is filled with a carrott or some hay for the horse of Sinterklaas.. On the next morning they will find a small present in their shoe, ranging from a bag of chocolade coins to a bag of marbles or some other small toy. On the evening of December 5, Sinterklaas brings presents to every child that has been good in the past year.

Just like with Santa Claus, candy is all important with Sinterklaas too. Traditional sweets are bite sized spiced cookies called “pepernoten”, marzipan in all shapes and sizes, and huge letter-shaped chocolates. You’ve missed the holiday, but when you visit Amsterdam in the this month still, go munch away on all the unsold Sinterklaas candy which is one sale everywhere for at least half price ;-)

(they don’t like each other very much…check out the pictures)