Marco took this photo for me of the Hema in The Hague’s city centre. It shows a wall of chocolate Sinterklaas letters being used to block off what was formerly the entrance to Hema’s restaurant:
Hema’s restaurant is closed right now due to the corona regulations in the Netherlands. All restaurants and cafés are closed with the exception of takeaway. But takeaway doesn’t make much sense at the Hema restaurant so it is completely closed.
And what better way is there to to block off an entrance? It’s quite clever – it immediately makes the space more festive and takes attention away from the reasons why it needed to be closed in the first place. Here’s a look at the store when the restaurant redesign first opened back in early 2015:
If you need a refresher on Sinterklaas letters, they are literally large letters of chocolate, from A all the way to Z. They usually come in the flavors milk, dark, white and hazelnut. They are either plain or covered in fancy designs. If they are a gift for someone, then you normally buy the letter that corresponds with the first letter of the receipt’s name (N for Niki, and so forth). Or a lot of people buy “S” for Sinterklaas. But be warned: if you wait until the day before Sinterklaas to buy one, there will probably only be Q’s left!
Sinterklaas is celebrated on 5 December. It is a children’s holiday (mostly…), celebrated with gifts, poems and good food. You can read more at dutchnews.nl with the “Ten things you need to know to celebrate Sinterklaas” list.