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European Journal

The Netherlands: Controversial St. Nicholas

The Netherlands' version of St. Nicholas - Sinterklaas - has been getting a dressing down. The UN calls the Sinterklaas spectacle racist and wants it abolished.

Watch video 05:47

In centuries' old tradition, Sinterklaas travels through the country with a band of helpers in black face. And that's the problem. The character is known as Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete, and for years was portrayed as a dimwit. Opponents call the tradition racist. Many Dutch are outraged and have organized protests. Traditionally Sinterklaas brings presents for Dutch children each November.