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The Motion Detector: Zwarte Piet (Black Peter)

11.12.2014
Museum Europäischer Kulturen

The "Motion Detector" is a new platform initiated by the Museum Europäischer Kulturen to discuss current events and explore their relevance to the museum and its collection. The "Motion Detector" itself takes the form of a glass display case, located in the foyer directly beside the entrance to the museum at Arnimallee 25.

The latest "Motion Detector" takes a closer look at the current media debate surrounding depictions of Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), the helper of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas). Sinterklaas is one of the most important festivities in the Netherlands. The figure of Zwarte Piet is traditionally depicted by white men or women wearing blackface makeup, with big red lips, curly black hair, and gold earrings. Since the 1990s, there has been growing controversy and debate in the Netherlands over the role and representation of Zwarte Piet as a clumsy black servant.