Here's the link to the NYT story: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/world/…
@2, 3 is correct -- Black Pete is a Moor, not black from chimney soot -- that's just plain wrong. And Black Pete is a bad guy -- he terrorizes kids, threatening to throw them into a river if they misbehave. I was roped into playing Santa once in a former Dutch colony (white guy, speaks the local language) without knowing Black Pete would be accompanying me on my rounds. His job was to scare the shit out of kids, and he made some of them cry and squirm. Great, associating dark skin with terror and fear.
I guess as an aside, is it less racist if it's a brown person wearing blackface, as this case was?
@8 tradition dies hard, I suppose, even in mostly tolerant Holland. That being said, if you look at the NYT article, there are plenty of well organized people against Black Pete. And many who seem ambivalent. @6 also seems to not understand that the Dutch aren't all of one mind on this ("The Dutch will keep celebrating Black Pete...")