People who have visited The Netherlands in December may have noticed how important the 5th day of the last month of the year is. It can be considered as much as important as Christmas. Dutch people celebrate the birthday of Sinterklaas, an old man who is living in Madrid but comes a few weeks on forehand to the Netherlands with his ‘Zwarte Pieten’, we called them ‘Black Petes’. The Black Petes help Sinterklaas with distributing presents and pepernoten (some sort of small cookie that tastes a bit like Gingerbread). It is a celebration mainly mentioned for children, as they believe that Sinterklaas is a real person, like other people believe in the Santa Claus. They are pretty similar though, they are both old, have both a white beard (although Sinterklaas’ beard is longer), they both live abroad, they both climb on roofs to give children presents, they are both dressed up in red, both are the best friends of every child and both of them do not really exist.


A Dutch delegation of our international class decided to organize a classic Sinterklaas party on Friday the 12th of December where everyone had to write a poem for someone else, selected randomly, and buy a present for about €5,- for that person. Almost everyone was present at the party that was held in the apartment of one of our classmates. It was great to see that everyone had put an effort in their English, Dutch or Greek written poem, some were funny, others were pleasing or humiliating. After not too many beers, wines and pepernoten we closed the evening in the city centre, we had an exam two days later after all…


This evening was a promising event for the second phase that will start in about a month. While the best chapter of the TDM book still has to start, the class is more than just a group of students, international friendships arose that will last longer than we will probably imagine. Christmas is the opportunity for a last visit to families and friends in everyone’s home country before an exciting journey will start that we will never forget. In a bit more than a month we will gather at Schiphol Airport, to head to the first destination, Melbourne!

Written by Joris Dibbits current student of TDM