On Thursday, the Amsterdam District Court ordered the city to re-examine its decision to grant a permit for the arrival of Father Christmas and the group of Black Petes.
It said that Black Pete’s appearance, in combination with the fact that he is often portrayed as stupid and obedient, means it is “a negative stereotype of black people”. The court also cited a publication by the country’s national human rights commission this week that found that white Dutch leaders frequently react with “irritation and dismissal” when questions of racism are raised, even though workplace discrimination is well documented in the Netherlands.
“I am really happy, and I congratulate the Dutch people that we together can work on a Netherlands that is free of racism,” Barryl Biekman, the head of the Platform Slavery History organization, said in an interview with NOS TV.
“If this continues, it would mean that the Dutch state and all of its municipalities, are jointly responsible for maintaining racism in this country,” he added.
The city has begun discussing possible solutions, including using different colors of face paint for Pete, or smudging his cheeks with soot.