I’m definitely not Sinterklaas, am I?
No, but 17 actors do. The Netherlands has 17 actors who have dived into the role of Sinterklaas, of which we welcomed seven during the national entry. The two most famous are Bram van der Vlucht and Stefan de Walle, the latter of whom plays the national Sinterklaas every year since 2011.
Sint-Nicolaas was founded in 270 AD. born in Myra. If we calculate, he is now 1750 years old. Actually, St. Nicholas died on December 6, 340 AD, but we just keep on counting. After his death he was declared a saint; the anniversary of a saint’s death is usually celebrated the day before, which is why Christmas Eve falls on December 5.
Sinterklaas does have a money tree on his back
Children must of course be provided with presents throughout the country. Web retailers see that their turnover increases by about 28% in the period around Sinterklaas. In the Netherlands, the average amount we spend on Sinterklaas is around 113 euros.
That seems a lot for just gifts, but don’t forget the costs for decoration, surprises and snacks and drinks during the evening.
Don’t be alarmed, here is Mick
Since 1999, Mick’s Rhyme Dictionary has been a rock in the surf as soon as December arrives. In the run-up to Sinterklaas, the website attracts an average of between 300,000 and 350,000 visitors on a good day. On D-Day there are even half a million. By the way: a poem should consist of at least 16 to 20 lines. Don’t be alarmed, luckily we have Mick!
Throw something in my shoe
The tradition of shoe putting dates back to the 15th century. Then it happened in churches, with the proceeds being given to the poor. Today it has a slightly different connotation. Parents have their children put on their shoes an average of twice a week in the period between the arrival and parcel evening.
For the tube
This year, more than 2.2 million people watched the arrival of Sinterklaas. Perhaps the viewing figures were higher than normal because of corona; the entry was held in a secret place without an audience. We do not know how many people watched the first entry in Venray in 1888, as it was far ahead of television. From 1952 they started broadcasting the entry.
From Schimmel to Amerigo
The only horse in the world that can walk on roofs. Traditionally, Sinterklaas’ horse is a gray; the light coat is a clear contrast to the red of the tabard. The fungus, which for many years was called Schimmel, was renamed Amerigo in 1990. Amerigo’s retirement was announced in 2019, after which the horse Ozosnel made its appearance. In total there have been six horses who have rendered a loyal service to Sinterklaas.
Which we would rather not know
The S for Saint Nicholas is also the S for sugar. From tough teeth to marzipan, Sinterklaas is all about sweets. On average, we eat around 400 grams of gingerbread cookies per year, although some will secretly be far above it. If you have 100 grams of gingerbread cookies, then unfortunately also around 440 calories, 11 grams of fat and 32 grams of sugar. A chocolate letter goes one step further and contains at least 520 calories (a no, the letter M is no bigger than the I).