Thousands of letters to Sinterklaas left outside in Brussels city centre

Thousands of letters to Sinterklaas left outside in Brussels city centre
Sinterklaas pictured as he arrives in Antwerp to bring gifts to children on Saint Nicholas eve. BELGA PHOTO JORGE DIRKX

Containers with letters meant for Sinterklaas (Dutch for the legend) never made it to their recipient but were instead left overnight outside Bpost's headquarters on Monday, reported De Standaard.

Some 15 grey containers blocked the pavement on Tuesday, 6 December at the side entrance to Bpost. Most of the containers were marked as confidential but one of the containers was filled with letters addressed to Sinterklaas, whose Belgian address is Spanjestraat 1, 0612 Hemel. Bpost collects and processes "all letters in a real Sinterklaas secretariat."

"All children can write a letter to Saint Nicholas until November 29, 2022," Bpost's website reads. "Every child who writes a letter or sends a drawing to Saint Nicholas receives a letter back. But to receive your reply, you must write your address on the back of the envelope."

One passerby took a photo of the containers and posted it on social media. A Bpost spokesperson told De Standaard they felt strongly about the incident and that "normally, they (the letters) are immediately loaded into a truck, they certainly shouldn't be left on the pavement."

Personal information revealed

It was on Tuesday that events went downhill for Bpost. An employee of one of Bpost's subcontractors placed the containers with children's letters outside, even though no collection was scheduled that day. The containers blocked the pavements and attracted attention.

Bpost claimed the containers with the children's letters were locked when they were placed outside. But it took until Wednesday morning before they were collected.

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Some of the containers must have been broken open given that a passerby could take a photo revealing Sinterklaas as the addressee. The letters also contained personal information in the form of the return addresses on the back of each letter.

Will children get an answer from Sinterklaas now?

It is all the more embarrassing for Bpost that the incident involved thousands of children's unopened letters to Sinterklass lying around for an entire day in the centre of Brussels.

However, Bpost's spokesperson insisted to De Standaard that the children would still receive a reply.

"Of course, all children who send the saint a letter with a legible return address will receive a reply. Every year we make thousands of children happy this way, even without their letter being read."


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