St. Nicholas Arrives in Holland on a Steamboat with his White Horse

Kirsten Kerkhof wrote me the following about St. Nicolas Day in Holland…

“In the Netherlands, Christmas is not as important for children as Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas) on December 5th. It’s on this day that children get their presents, instead of on Christmas Day. Sint Nicolaas is the patron saint of children. He is said to come from Spain, although the real Sint Nicolaas came from what is now Turkey.”

In November St. Nicholas arrives on a steamboat from Spain, with his helpers and his white horse. Children go to watch his arrival.

St. Nicolas in Holland

Here’s a song they sing in Dutch, with an English translation…

Zie Ginds Komt de Stoomboot
(Dutch)

Zie ginds komt de stoomboot,
Uit Spanje weer aan.
Hij brengt on Sint Nicolaas,
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 de lachen,
Hij roept ons reeds toe.
Wie zoet is krijgt lekkers,
Wie stout is, de roe.
Oh, lieve Sint Nicolaas,
Kom ook toch bij mij,
En rijd toch niet stilletjes,
Ons huisje voorbij.

Look, There is the Steamboat
(English)

Look there is the steamboat
From far-away Spain.
It brings us Saint Nicholas,
I can see him, waving.
His horse is a-prancing
On deck up and down,
The banners are waving,
In village and town.

His servant is laughing
And tells everyone,
The good kids get candy,
The bad ones get none.
Oh, dearest Saint Nicholas,
If Pete and you would,
Just visit our house,
For we all have been good.

Here’s a version of Look, There is the Steamboat from Belgium…

Zie Ginds Komt de Stoomboot
(Dutch)

Zie ginds komt de stoomboot,
uit Spanje weer aan.
Hij brengt ons Sint-Nikolaas,
ik zie hem al staan.
Hoe waaien de wimpels,
al heen en al weer.
Hoe huppelt zijn paardje,
het dek op en neer.
Zijn knecht staat te lachen,
en roept ons reeds toe:
“Wie braaf is krijgt lekkers,
wie stout is de roe.”

See There Arrives the Steamboat
(English)

See there arrives the steamboat,
From Spain again.
It brings us Saint Nicolas,
I see him standing there already.
Look how the flags,
Flutter back and forth.
Look how his little horse,
Hops up and down the deck.
His servant stands there, laughing
And he shouts at us:
“Who’s good, gets sweets,
Who’s bad, gets the whip.”

Here’s another St. Nicholas song from Belgium…

Hoor de Wind Waait
(Dutch)

Hoor de wind waait door de bomen,
hier in huis zelfs waait de wind.
Zou de goede Sint wel komen,
nu hij ‘t weer zo lelijk vindt?
nu hij ‘t weer zo lelijk vindt?

Hoor wie stapt daar kinderen?
Hoor klopt daar kinderen?
Hoor wie tikt daar zachtjes tegen ‘t raam?

‘t Is een vreemdling zeker?
Die verdwaald is zeker?
Ga maar vlug eens vragen naar zijn naam!

Sint Nikolaas! Sint Nikolaas!
Breng mij vanavond ook een bezoek!
en strooi dan wat lekkers in een of d’andere hoek!

Hear How the Wind Blows
(English)

Hear how the wind blows through the trees,
Even here inside the house the wind blows.
Will the good Saint come,
When the weather is that bad?
When the weather is that bad?

Listen, who’s stepping there children?
Listen, who’s knocking there children?
Listen, who’s tapping, softly at the window?

Must be a stranger, I’m sure?
Who lost his way, I’m sure?
Quickly, go and ask his name!

Saint Nicolas! Saint Nicolas!
Please visit me too, tonight!
And throw some sweets in this or that corner!

Many thanks to Kirsten Kerkhof for contributing the version of Zie Ginds Komt de Stoomboot from Holland and for her helpful comments, and to Rudy Welvaert for the Belgian songs. Dank u wel!

Come visit the Mama Lisa’s World Netherlands Page for more Children’s Songs from the Holland and…

The Mama Lisa’s World Belgium Page for more Belgian Children’s Songs.

Happy Sint Nicolaas!

Lisa

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