The Black Pete Files

Festus Toll

In his archival essay about the birth, life and death of the traditional Dutch figure Black Pete, Festus Toll researches the journey of Black Pete using footage from broadcasters and family films. From its origin as Sinterklaas companion, to the problematic and racist character that divided a part of Dutch society. 

In recent years, Kick Out Zwarte Piet (Kick Out Black Pete) activists have been intimidated, harassed, cars were vandalized and demonstrators' belongings were stolen and thrown around.  

The final hours and death of Black Pete happened at these very moments - when Dutch citizens non-white and white who wanted to peaceful exercise their fundamental right to protest were disrespected and chased out of the street. Activists were offered no protection by the police and they found themselves face to face with a group of rioting racists who took matters into their own hands and were able to go on a violent rampage. 

This film was commissioned by Playgrounds and Beeld & Geluid.

This short film is screened in the Special: Commemoration of Slavery Past.


Festus Toll
Country of production
Netherlands, The
Documentary, Short
15 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Playgrounds, Sound & Vision