In Belgium, St. Nicolas comes in the middle of the night on December 5th bringing presents for the kids. Before then, in November, all the kids go to see Saint Nicolas arrive in town with his helper, "Zwarte Piet". They arrive by boat, train or horse, and a big parade is held in their honor. Here's one of the songs the children sing for the event...

Zie Ginds Komt de Stoomboot - Belgian Children's Songs - Belgium - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Here's another version of Zie, ginds komt de stoomboot that was sent to us by Lyndsey Haezebrouck. Lyndsey pointed out that the writer of this song was Jan Schenkman (1806-1863). Schenkman actually started the tradition of St. Nick coming on a steamboat from Spain with his assistant. He wrote about it in his book Sint Nicolaas en zijn knecht (1845).

Zie, ginds komt de stoomboot

Zie, ginds komt de stoomboot
Uit Spanje weer aan.
Hij brengt ons Sint Maarten,
Ik zie hem al staan.
Hoe huppelt zijn paardje
Het dek op en neer,
Hoe waaien de wimpels
Al heen en al weer.

Zijn knecht staat te lachten
En roept ons reeds toe:
"Wie zoet was, krijgt lekkers,
Wie stout is de roe".
Och, lieve Sint Maarten
Kom ook eens bij mij
En rij dan niet stilletjes ons huisje voorbij.

See, There Comes The Steamboat
(English Translation)

See, there comes the steamboat
From Spain again
It brings us Saint-Martin
I can see him standing there already
How his horse is jumping in jolly way
Up and down on the deck
How the flags are waving
Back and forth.

His servant is laughing
And shouts to us in friendly manner
"The ones who are good, will get sweets
The ones who are bad will be caned"
O, sweet Saint-Martin
Do come to me too
And don't pass by our house silently.

They have a similar tradition in Holland where "Zie Ginds Komt de Stoomboot" is also sung.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Rudy Welvaert for contributing this wonderful song with the translation. Thanks to Lyndsey Haezebrouck for contributing and translating the 2nd version of this song.

Dank u wel!