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Christmas in The Netherlands / Holland (Video)

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For most children in The Netherlands, the most important day during December is 5th December, when Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) brings them their presents!

St. Nicholas' day is on the 6th December, but in Holland, the major celebrations are held on the 5th December. The name Santa Clauscomes from the name Sinterklaas.

On the morning of St. Nicholas' Day, Sinterklaas travels to a city or town in The Netherlands, wearing his red bishop's robes. He travels with his servants called 'Zwarte Pieten' ('Black Peters'). When Sinterklaas and the Black Peters come ashore from the boat, all of the local church bells ring in celebration. Sinterklaas then leads a procession through the town, riding a white horse. If he visits Amsterdam, he meets the Queen in the Palace.

Christmas Day itself is a much quieter day in Holland, with a Church Service and family meal. Sometimes there is a special Christmas Day 'Sunday School' in the afternoon at the church, where the Christmas Story and other traditional stories are told. These are often the only presents children will get on Christmas Day because they have already received most of their presents on St. Nicholas Day.

On Christmas Eve night, Dutch Children believe that Santa Claus, (who is also call 'Christmas man' / 'Kerstman' to avoid confusion with Sinterklaas!) comes from Lapland in Finland to deliver more presents!

Many people in The Netherlands also have a Christmas Tree in their houses.

In Dutch Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Prettige Kerstfeest'.