Sooty Piets in Belgium

Sooty Piets in Belgium

Along with the Netherlands’ Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Maastricht, in 2015 Brussels and Antwerp also announced they would have alternative, sooty—not blackface— Piets.

So change is coming to Belgium, as well as the Netherlands. There,as well, it is coming first to large cities.

Saint and Piet, Antwerp
Photo: Wirenewsfax

2019 brings Sooty Piets to Antwerp on November 16, where he is greeted by the mayor on Verbindingsdok-Westkaai. Since the beginning of November the Saint has been featured on the television series “Day of Christmas.” Each episode has a child’s letter with a question about the Saint.

As calls to eliminate blackface Piets in the Netherlands have increased, anti-racism campaigners in Belgium have also called for an end to the tradition of blackface in festivals and carnivals.  Belgium shares in the Black Piet tradition, though less so than in the Netherlands it has other folklore festivals with blackface. 


  • Torrendo, John, “Christmas makes a joyful appearance in Antwerp on the 16th of November,” Wirefax, November 1, 2019
  • Johnson, Daniel, “Hello, Santa Claus is back: discover the first images of the brand-new series,” Global News, November 1, 2019
  • Picheta, Rob, “This country with a colonial history has a blackface problem,” CNN, November 30, 2019
  • Krever, Mick and Amy Woodyatt, “Dutch PM’s opinions on blackface have undergone ‘major changes’—but he’s not going to ban it,” CNN, June 5, 2020
  • “George Floyd Protests Prompt Europe to Reckon With Racist Legacies of Colonial Past,” The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2020

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