Library removes Zwarte Piet books

zwarte piet book
There are no more of these books at the library. Photo credit: Studio040

The Eindhoven library has removed all its books featuring Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) from its collection.

In doing so, the organisation’s following the example of several other Dutch libraries. Over the past month, employees have been digging through the collection of Sinterklaas books. According to the library’s director, Albert Kivits, they’ve made a clear choice.

“Everyone’s allowed to express their opinion in the Black Pete debate. That’s also important to us. We favour of discussion, but we favour inclusion too.”


“The caricatured Black Pete, with his frizzy hair and large earrings has caused a lot of grief among adults and children. It’s hurtful and excludes people. That’s why we think it’s appropriate to change the tradition. It should be a celebration for everyone.”

Albert doesn’t know how many books they’ve removed. “We have hundreds of thousands of books. It was a small part of that collection.”

Even if the library hadn’t cleaned up its Sinterklaas collection, the Black Pete would’ve disappeared over time, Kivits points out. “Those books are no longer printed or sold.”

No books should be removed

On Tuesday evening, the LPF (List Pim Fortuyn) handed in a motion at the Eindhoven city council meeting. It was about the Sinterklaas books. This opposition party doesn’t want the library to remove any Black Pete books to its collection.

If the library has already done so, they must ‘reverse that as soon as possible’. Only the Elderly Appeal party supported the motion. All other parties opposed the suggestion.

They don’t think it’s the municipality’s concern which books should or shouldn’t be in the city’s library.

Source: Studio040

Translator: Bob

Editor: Melinda Walraven

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