Council of State to try to speed up Zwarte Piet ruling
The Netherlands’ highest legal body is to decide this week if it can reach a decision on the future of Zwarte Piet before the December 5 Sinterklaas festivities.
The AD reports on Tuesday that the Council usually takes nine months to make a ruling but that this can be speeded up in matters of great social importance.
Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan went to the Council of State after a lower court ruled Zwarte Piet – Sinterklaas’ sidekick played by white people in blackface make-up – is a negative stereotype.
The court said the mayor needed to reconsider his decision to licence the annual Sinterklaas parade because of this.
Van der Laan says the issue is a matter for society not the law courts.
However, he is planning to ensure the character is adapted this year. ‘Piet will move further away from the negroid stereotype and colonial past,’ the mayor said last week.
The lower court said Van der Laan must look again at whether he should have given the go-ahead for the procession because he had not taken the European Human Rights Convention into account with regard to the figure of Zwarte Piet.