Now that the Sinterklaasjournaal is officially on the air again, the kids are getting more and more excited for the arrival of Saint Nicholas. So where can you spot the gentle old man in Haarlem and surroundings? And where can you get the local gifts and treats? This year, we have found several children’s activities as well as tips to make the most of the Sinterklaas holiday season.
Arrival of Sinterklaas in Haarlem 2021
Though things are a little different this year, Sinterklaas and his helpers will definitely stick to tradition to visit Haarlem. Instead of stepping ashore however, the Pakjesboot will keep sailing along the Spaarne. So on November 14th, find yourself a cozy spot along the river and use your loudest singing voice to welcome Sinterklaas and his helpers to our lovely city. As the boat will be sailing through Haarlem-Noord, you best find a spot between the Verfrollerbrug and Spaarndam. Sinterklaas is scheduled to be at the Verfrollerbrug around 13:00 o’clock.
Not able to join in official welcome due to prior engagements? You may want to add November 25th to your calendars. Sinterklaas and his helpers will be walking around town on Thursday evening between 19:00 and 21:00pm. Perhaps bedtime can be scheduled a little later than usual on this day 😉
Date: Sunday November 14th, 2021
Time: Between 13:00-14:00 pm
Costs: this event is free of charge
Sinterklaas arrival in Heemstede
Before heading to Haarlem, Sinterklaas will first make an appearance in Heemstede on Saturday. Unfortunately the appearance of Sinterklaas and the Pieten on the roof at Jan van Goyenstraat is canceled this year due to Covid. The program in Heemstede has just changed; Sinterklaas will be sailing from the Heemsteeds Kanaal (at the Spaarne) towards the harbour and back and will not step ashore.
Date: Saturday November 13th, 2021
Time: start around 11:15 and the boat will turn at the harbour around 12:00 o’clock
Costs: this event is free of charge
For details on the complete program click here
Visit Pakjesboot 12
So where do those helpers bake the gingersnaps? And where do they wrap and store the presents? Another annual must see this time of year is the one and only Pakjesboot 12, the boat where all the Sinterklaas magic happens. For now only two locations have been announced, so please check the website for up to date info on where the Pakjesboot will be docked at pakjesboot.nl
Sinterklaas play at De Toverknol
‘Pakjesavond’ is an interactive play where you’ll be completely indulged in the Sinterklaas vibe! Sing and dance along to all your favorite Sinterklaas songs. Are the little ones eager to dress up as Sinterklaas or as one of his helpers? This is their moment to play the part! A fun filled experience for everyone!
Date: Saturday 13/11 – Sunday 5/12
Costs: € 10,- per person, each play lasts about 40 minutes
Play: 10:30am (1 – 4 yo), 12:15pm (3 – 7 yo), 14:00pm (5 – 9 yo)
Reservations and info: detoverknol.nl
Sustainable and local shopping tips
Looking for ideas to make the holiday shopping experience environment friendly as well? On Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 at the Korfbalclub Aurora, Vergierdeweg, is an event you wouldn’t want to miss! Formerly known as the ‘Recycle Sint’, this is the place to bring new or gently used toys and swap them for something you find there. All items that haven’t been swapped will be donated to the local charity Speelgoedbank Haarlem.
When: toys can be handed in between 17:30-19:30pm, toy swap takes place from 20:00-21:00 o’clock.
Where: Korfbalclub Aurora, Vergierdeweg 265-C (only accessible with QR-code)
Free parking is available
Sintercasa: the official Sinterklaasposter of Haarlem
Local business Studio Spruit, created the most fabulous poster for the Sinterklaas season.
A feast for the eyes filled with many surprises. A true staple for the season and must-have for the true believers.
To order go to: www.studiospruit.com
Bake your own mini ginger snaps
Sure you can buy them at the local supermarket or grocery store. Or even at Peppernuts located at the Grote Houtstraat. But nothing beats making your own! Somehow baking your own mini ginger snaps is an experience you don’t want to miss. Plus the smell of oven baked snaps brings you right into the spirit of the holiday season!
Ready to make packages are available at several stores, but we personally enjoy the mix at Dille & Kamille.
Where: Anegang 46, Haarlem
Costs: €4,25 (500 gram organic kruidnoten mix)
Text: Eva Cameron-Bakker
Photos: Eva Cameron-Bakker (main photo and photo Toverknol) and Nicoline van Slingelandt (photo baking)
Translation & editing: Fatima Fazli-Vermeulen
Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram for even more child friendly tips or buy the book MUGJES (in Dutch), with over 200 locations, tips by locals and fun activities in Haarlem (and surroundings) for kids aged 0 to 7.