Zwarte Piet, een blackfacepersonage | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 131, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



In 1847 the successfully introduced American blackface minstrelsy to a Dutch public. A few years later the publication of the Dutch translation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s (1853) and the subsequent ‘Tom-play’ led white Dutch actors to perform in blackface. Blackface performances functioned not merely as entertainment, but perpetuated a stereotypical white image of black people. During that same period the ­Amsterdam-based teacher Jan Schenkman published a children’s book including a black servant (, 1850). The servant was known as Black Pete and became established in the Saint Nicolas tradition. In the years to come, Black Pete, generally a white person wearing a blackface mask, leaned heavily on the same elements that made the blackface minstrel dandy type a success: edified clothing, a blackface mask, and anti-­emancipation humour.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Bengali; Black Pete; blackface minstrelsy; dandy; Uncle Tom’s Cabin
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error