The Dutch Santa

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. A time for family and a time for presents for many cultures of the world. Most children in The Netherlands are more excited about another guy in a red suit: Saint Nicolas. Every year, Saint Nicolas arrives in The Netherlands and gives candy and presents to all children who have been sweet during the year. December 5, called “present night,” is the night to be excited about.

Last week, Saint Nicolas brought a visit to I-House. During the Dutch Coffee Hour, suddenly he showed up with two of his companions, better known as “Black Petes.” Although there has been a lot of commotion about the concept of Black Pete lately, the fact that Pete is black has nothing to do with race, but rather with the fact that he climbs down chimneys to deliver presents to children who put their shoes in front of the fireplace.

After the coffee hour, residents were invited to put their shoes in front of the fireplace. Those who did were surprised the following morning by some candy that Saint Nicolas left them and a wonderful poem (which is also a tradition). I thought it would be nice to share one of the poems here.

It was a special night on that dorm on the hill,
a visit by Saint Nicolas resulted in quite a thrill.

Dutch coffee hour was a blast, and Saint Nic was loved well.
He didn’t mind all these beautiful ladies on his lap, that much I could tell.

After his appearance in the great hall, Saint went to the library too,
He took the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator, because he had better things to do.

All you I-House people have been quite sweet last semester, but let me get one thing straight,
Why doesn’t everyone eat the chicken on their plate?!

Luckily, Sint could provide you all with a break from I-House food,
and he sincerely hopes you thought his cookies were good.

At 10, Sint had to go, because, too be honest, there were no cookies anymore.
But don’t be afraid, the shoes in front of the fireplace he will not ignore.

So here’s a little snack for you, I hope you enjoy it well.
And if not, at least, your shoe now has a better smell.

Before Sint leaves you, he feels this piece of advice you must know,
whatever you do, don’t eat the yellow snow.

Saint Nicolas, his black Petes and all Dutchies say goodbye, for Sint has to take care of other affairs.
Good luck with the exams and… Go Bears!

Love,
Sint & Piet

In name of all the Dutchies in I-House, we’d like to thank all residents who made Dutch Coffee Hour a success. We loved to introduce this Dutch tradition to you all, and who knows, maybe Saint Nic will return next year, if you all are sweet.

Saint Nicolas with two Black Pete's and all Dutchies!

Saint Nicolas with two Black Petes and all Dutchies!

For now, I wish everyone the best of luck with the exam preparations. And for those leaving after this semester, enjoy the last weeks at Cal!

Koen

About Koen Bressers

Hi, I am Koen! I'm 23 years old, I am from the Netherlands and study Industrial Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology. Currently, I am on an exchange semester at University of California, Berkeley. I work (part-time) as a webdesigner and love to run, play squash and travel.
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One Response to The Dutch Santa

  1. Pingback: I-House Resident and Alumni Blogger Awards | I-House: Where UC Berkeley Meets the World

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