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Saint-Nicolas to arrive by steamboat in Antwerp on 13 November
Saint-Nicolas has sent a telegram to Belgium to assure children that he will be arriving by boat at the port of Antwerp on 13 November. Having missed out on his annual trip to Belgium last year, the saint and his army of helpers promise to once again disembark at the port and parade through town on their way to the city’s town hall.
Once at the town hall on Grote Markt, the saint will give his annual address to the crowd and announce whether or not there have been any naughty children in Belgium this year. The whole affair happens three weeks ahead of the Saint-Nicolas holiday on 6 December.
It is the first time in four years that the saint will be able to address the thousands of families from his post on an upper terrace of the town hall, as before corona it was inaccessible for three years due to extensive renovations.
Saint-Nicolas’ steamboat is due to arrive – all the way from Spain – in front of Steenplein at around 13.45 on the Saturday. He will be met by Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever, who will walk along with the procession to the Grote Markt just a few minutes’ away.
Fans are invited to greet the saint at the harbour or take to Grote Markt or to line the parade route along the way. Traditionally the helpers (known as Père Fouettard in French) toss sweets to the crowds. The map above shows the saint’s route (in red) and other paths to the Grote Markt from the riverfront (green).
The kids’ broadcaster Ketnet will provide live music and other activities on the square during the event. All the speeches will be in Dutch.
While kids won’t get the chance to discuss their gift lists with the saint during his arrival, they can send him a letter via Bpost. All letters sent to the saint by 29 November will be answered, with a little gift no less.
Letters can be sent in any language, but the saint will answer in French or Dutch, depending on the address used. Send letters to Saint-Nicolas, Rue du Paradis 1, 0612 Ciel to get a response in French. Send letters to Sinterklaas, Spanjestraat 1, 0612 Hemel to get a response in Dutch.
Photo: Saint Nicolas arrives in Antwerp in 2019
©Kristof Van Accom/BELGA