Zie Ginds Komt de Stoomboot, a children’s song written by Jan Schenkman, is often repeated by families and children in Amsterdam when Sinterklaas arrives. The meaning of the song translates, “Look, there comes the steamboat!”
The arrival of Sinterklaas will be telecast in Amsterdam with a boat parade as well as a horse parade and as a symbol of love. Sint and friends will shower sweets upon the kids lined up in Amsterdam city. Sinterklaas is based on Saint Nicholas, resembles Santa-Claus and just like Santa Sint arrives in town with gifts and presents for everyone.
The arrival of Sint is a jolly good day in Amsterdam. Each year, Sinterklaas will arrive in the Netherlands as a ritual by November, and the subsequent day after his arrival, Sint and friends will partake in a parade throughout Amsterdam. As per the beliefs of the Dutch community, Sinterklaas lives in Madrid, Spain, and he chooses a different harbor each year to arrive in Netherlands so that most of the kids will get to see him.
In 2017, it is expected by the Dutch community that Sinterklaas will be arriving on November 19. Those on Amsterdam tours can go to Maritime Museum to see the Sinterklaas when he eventually arrives in Amsterdam city. The main celebration of Sinterklaas’ arrival will take place on December 5 and that is known as Sinterklaasfeest – the day when Sint distributes gifts to both kids and adults.
The families in Netherlands follow a ritual by gathering in Amsterdam city on the eve of Sinterklaasfeest and that is mainly done to exchange the gifts and oft-repeat poems. Just like Christmas, Sinterklaasfeest is all about oft-repeating poems in a way that everyone gathered sings along. As a condition, the poems about the gift and the person you gift to shall be based on Sint and Piet.
Sinterklaasfeest is also about the gifting cookies and chocolates with decors that resemble the coins Saint Nicholas hand over to the poor. Sinterklaas and Saint Nicholas also believe in the healing power of Christ.
Sinterklaas is often joined by a brigade of helpers sporting black paint on face and wearing Moorish costumes. So gear up to join the festive mood, wear similar costumes to Sint and his friends, and ignite more fun to the Amsterdam tours this November.