Sinterklaas versus Father Christmas a SWOT Analysis

It’s that wonderful time of year in the Netherlands when football hooligans and neo-nazis attack people who protest against Zwarte Piet. Yes, it’s the Sinterklaas season. Meanwhile, in large parts of the western world, the countdown to Christmas is about to begin. With this in mind, it’s a good time to put the lead protagonists of Sinterklaas and Christmas side by side. Here’s my Sinterklaas versus Santa Claus SWOT analysis.

The things I do for my readers!


Strengths Santa Claus

  • Jolly happy chap.
  • He’s able to climb down a chimney and deliver presents and yet remain white! Shocking!
  • He makes little boys and girls all over the world very happy, not just in the Netherlands and Belgium
  • That red suit of his is pretty bloody stylish
  • He manages to arrive and leave on the 25th of December with little fuss and no riots or violence breaks out as a result
  • He doesn’t represent any religion

Strengths Sinterklaas

  • He encourages literacy in children as they have to write witty poems as part of the tradition
  • He arrives by boat and takes a train so has a low carbon footprint
  • Jolly happy chap

Weaknesses Santa Claus

  • His reliance on Elves as a key part of his toy manufacturing supply chain is somewhat dubious
  • He does love a glass of brandy or two
  • His sponsorship deal with Coca Cola is somewhat suspect. Plus, do the Elves receive a cut of the revenues?

Sinterklaas versus Santa

Weaknesses Sinterklaas

  • His employment practices leave a lot to be desired. I’ve yet to see a Piet riding his horse. Why do the black guys have to walk along next to the old chap on a horse? It’s like something out of Django Unchained
  • Unlike Santa, he doesn’t actually go down the chimney himself, he uses Zwarte Piets to do the dirty work. (Note: they arrive in the Netherlands already black so it’s not from the chimney)
  • Headmasterly demeanour, somewhat patronising especially to the Piets
  • With the Bishops hat he wears he looks like a God botherer.


Opportunities Santa Claus

  • Buy the toys from like everyone else. Free the Elves!
  • Cut back on the brandy and lose a kilo or two, it will make climbing in and out of chimneys a lot easier

Opportunities Sinterklaas

  • Give the Piets their own horses, it’s time to update the traditie
  • Employ actual black people instead of white guys in blackface makeup
  • If he has to use white guys then watch the movie Mary Poppins to see how actual chimney sweeps look. Or better still use only Roet Piets.
  • Cheer up you’ll be back in Spain soon enough
  • Lose the Catholic Bishop look. Buy a baseball cap.

Threats Santa Claus

  • If the Elves unionise he’ll be in serious trouble
  • With his current BMI value, he might not be long for this world
  • Animal rights activists might demand that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer gets a larger share of the profits and shouldn’t have to work on Christmas Day. Oh, wait!

Threats Sinterklaas

  • People trafficking is a serious offence and the excuse that all these black chaps are on a boat on their way to the Netherlands to deliver presents might not satisfy the authorities
  • There’s now a black Sinterklaas De Nieuwe Sint who’s a damn sight cooler than the current one. (Ja, maar alleen in Amsterdam)

De nieuwe sint



No religious fanatics were hurt during the writing of this post

Until next time, let’s sing the words to that old Dutch classic Sinterklaas liedje, “have you ever seen a black man on a horse? Neeeeee niet in mijn dorpje! “