Saint Nicholas ‘Sinterklaas’ arrives to Amsterdam by ship and upon landing, rides on a white horse through the city center in a festive parade. Large crowds of children greet him and his entourage – as he is usually surrounded by no less than 500 Black Peter servants, 10 marching bands and hundreds of festive marchers. The parade culminates with the mayor of Amsterdam welcoming Saint Nicholas. According to the tradition, during the weeks after, Saint Nicholas stays in town and is more important than any civic authority. Saint Nicolas arrival begins also a festive shopping time in the Netherlands, which lasts until 5th of December, the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, as on this the day the Dutch used to give themselves the seasons gifts.

With more than a kilometre of floats and boats, Amsterdam hosts the largest Saint Nicholas parade on earth. This year, Sinterklaas will sail into Amsterdam with 500 Pieten and plenty of pepernoten (small spiced biscuits). At least 300,000 spectators will line the canals to welcome him to the city.

Watch out for the white-bearded legend as he sails into town on Sunday November 18th! Sinterklaas and his ship will sail down Amstel River and follow a route through the city to the Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum).

To see the whole program, click here

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