Today is an important day of the year for all Dutch children. It is the birthday of Sinterklaas (St Nicholas).
Instead of giving him presents, he gives presents to the children. Three weeks ago he came to Holland with a steamship from Spain, together with his zwarte pieten (black helpers).
From that day on children put their shoes next to the fireplace every night. They put a carrot in it for the horse of Sinterklaas and sing some special Sinterklaas songs. If they are lucky they'll find a little present in their shoe together with animals or letters made of chocolate and also pepernoten. (tiny speculoos cookies)
Tonight many doorbells will ring and families will find presents on their doorstep to celebrate "het heerlijke avondje" (a wonderful evening)