You may have noticed all the Sinterklaas sweets in the grocery stores for months, but the actual wait is almost over! Sinterklaas (or Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children) will finally pay his annual visit to the Netherlands. Children across the country can follow his journey on the local Sinterklaasjournaal, where he is currently on his way to Apeldoorn. But he will also make an appearance in Haarlem. For all the details and various kids activities surrounding this typical Dutch holiday, continue reading below.
Arrival of Sinterklaas in Haarlem
As tradition has it, Sinterklaas and his helpers will arrive by boat at the river Spaarne (adjacent to Teylershofje). Once ashore, they will continue their journey along the Spaarne until they hit the crossing at the Damstraat, where they will make a right. Though Sinterklaas is always known to bring pepernoten (a bit like gingersnaps), we’ve experienced that they don’t always carry enough with them, so you could bring your own, just in case 😉 For the actual route, please see map below:
When: Sunday November 17th
Time: Between 12:30-13:00pm Sinterklaas will make his entrance as he sails in from Heemstede over the Spaarne. At 13:00pm they will anker at Teylershofje. From there they will make their way towards town where they are set to arrive at the Grote Markt, where the mayor of Haarlem will be awaiting them.
Costs: this event is free of charge
Sinterklaas on the roof at Jan van Goyenstraat, Heemstede
After arriving in Haarlem, Sinterklaas will head to Heemstede that afternoon. Throughout the day the helpers will be roaming the stores handing out candy and sweets to the kids.
Facepainting will start at 16:00pm and around 16:30pm, de Pietenband will arrive ready to kick off the party. But the real spectacle is Sinterklaas making his presence known in the Jan van Goyenstraat, in Heemstede. On the roof!
When: Sunday November 17th Time: from 16:00-18:00pm
Where: Jan van Goyenstraat, Heemstede
Costs: this event is free of charge
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. Be sure to make a reservation online, this event tends to sell out quickly.
When: Monday Nov 18, Tues Nov 19, and Wed Nov 20th
Time: vistit the website for available timeslots
Where: Haarlem (actual location tbd)
Costs: Children 0-2 can enter free of cost. €11,00 children 2-13years of age, €9,00 children 13& above as well as adults
For reservations visit: pakjesboot.nl
Pietenhuis, read-along and puppet theatre at Zorgvrij
Informatieboerderij Zorgvrij has transformed their info centre to a local Pietenhuis. Kids are invited to play, practice tossing presents into chimneys and have a good time. On Wednesday afternoon one of the volunteers will host a read-along with a special Sinterklaas storybook. And on November 24th, Puppettheatre Kizzebis will perform a Sinterklaas special.
When and where: Read-along on Wednesday Nov 20 and 27th at 15:00pm, the Kizzebis Sinterklaasspecial: on Sunday Nov 24th at 11:30am and at 13:30pm.
Where: Genieweg 50, Velsen-Zuid
Costs: playing at the Pietenhuis as well as a visit to the read-along is free of cost. A visit to the puppet theatre is €6,00pp.
Breakfast with Sinterklaas’ helpers at Brasserie Beeckestijn
After enjoying a lovely breakfast, the pieten arrive to get the party started! Fun and games and a little dancing and singing too. They have also brought the big book of Sinterklaas and are able to tell a little something about all the little kids at the breakfast. And they didn’t come empty handed as they have brought gifts and candy as well.
When: Sat Nov 23 and Sun Nov 24th
Time: arrival between 9-9:30am
Where: Rijksweg 130, Velsen-Zuid
Costs: €12,95 for children 3-12 years of age (included breakfast & gift) €19,95 for children 12 &up as well as adults (breakfast), €5,95 for children 0-3 years of age (gift)
Reservations can be made by visiting: brasseriebeeckestijn.nl
Reservation is mandatory.
Sinterklaasspecial at De Toverknol
Polleke and Nolleke have made their wishlist for Sinterklaas but they do have one very special wish. Their wish is to become one of Sinterklaas’ helpers. Do you think their wish will come true?
When: every Sat, Sun and Wed starting on Nov 16th till Dec 4th
Time: 10.30am (1-4 years of age), 12.15pm (3-7 years of age. NOT on Wednesdays), 14.00pm (5-9 years of age)
Where: Spiegelstraat 8-A, Haarlem
Reservations can be made by visiting: detoverknol.nl
Bake your own mini ginger snaps
Sure you can buy them in the supermarket or at the grocerystore. Or even at Van Delft, the pepernotenfactory with an annual popup-store in Haarlem. But you can’t beat making your own. Ready to make packages are available at several stores but we personally enjoy making the mix at Dille & Kamille.
Where: Anegang 46, Haarlem Costs: €4,25 (500 gram organic kruidnoten mix)
Tekst by: Eva Cameron-Bakker
Intro & translation by: Fatima Fazli-Vermeulen
Pictures by: Nicoline van Slingelandt
Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram for even more child friendly tips or buy the book MUGJES (in Dutch), with over 100 locations, tips by locals and fun activities in Haarlem (and surroundings) for kids aged 0 to 7.