• Sweden's news in English

Dutch crooner named Santa of the Year

David Landes · 21 Nov 2011, 16:12

Published: 21 Nov 2011 16:12 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“It feels great, I really didn't expect it. Now I have to come back and defend my title next year,” 24-year-old Santa champion Sinter Klas Stefan Veronderd of The Netherlands told the local Norrbottens Kuriren newspaper after claiming his prize.

Veronderd bested eight other competitors from as far afield as Japan, France, and Colombia to win the eighth installment of what is considered the unofficial Santa Claus world championships.

Prior to the competition he told the organizers that his tactics included being the "merriest, youngest and best trained Santa" as well as winning the jury over with his "charming 'hohoho' laughter".

While events such as porridge eating, the Santa-sack race, and Candy Cane spree went off without a hitch, a lack of snow forced organizers to cancel the reindeer riding competition, traditionally a crowd favourite.

Even though a dusting of snow arrived just ahead of the start of the competition to coat the streets of Gällivare, the sprinkling of white stuff still wasn't enough to bring out the animals that traditionally pull Santa's sleigh.

“This is the first time in 63 years we didn't have enough snow cover this time of year,” Mattias Svalenström of the Gällivare tourist office told The Local.

“The contestants were shocked. But we decided to have them ride a mechanical bull instead. The event drew a lot of laughs and was appreciated by contestants and onlookers alike.”

All the competitors, many of whom had been crowned the official Santa of their respective countries, did a solid job at channeling the spirit of jolly old St. Nick, according to Svalenström.

But the eventual champion outclassed the rest of the Santa pack through his rendition of “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” in the Santa Karaoke competition.

“He was very, very good,” Svalenström said.

“He started off with an opera falsetto and really got the crowd on his side.”

Svalenström explained that participants in the Santa competition are chosen in part from attendees at a global Santa congress held every summer in Denmark.

“But our event has become so well known that we get applications all year long.”

While organizers prefer that contestants' facial hair is genuine, having a home-grown shaggy white beard isn't a prerequisite.

“I mean, you can't come here in a silly mask, but a fake beard is OK,” said Svalenström.

“Sometimes its harder for the Asian Santas to produce the sort of facial hair growth one usually associates with Santa.”

Story continues below…

He added that the organizers and competitors alike take the event very seriously.

“There aren't any cigarettes or alcohol,” Svalenström said.

“They are here to be Father Christmas and be a good role model for children.”

The winner of the competition is chosen by a three-member jury consisting of a local city official, Gällivare's own official Santa, and by the person who serves as the competition mascot.

Related links:

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

23:18 November 21, 2011 by dutchgirl78
His name can't be "Sinter Klas" Stefan Veronderd. Google "Sinterklaas". It's the Dutch version of Santa...
13:30 November 22, 2011 by Stefan Veroude
Dear Swedish people!

To be exactly correct it's Santa HOLLAND, Stefan Veroude...

It was a joy to enter this competition and me and my helper will definitely enter the games next Year.

With kind regards, Santa Holland

Merry X-mas to You all hohohohohoooooo

contact: info@degroenebril.nl
23:50 November 22, 2011 by Camiio Romero
Santa Holland, You did a great job!!

See you next year!


Santa Camilo
Today's headlines
Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Forgotten Ingmar Bergman script to be made into a film
It's thought the script was part of an ill-fated collaboration between Bergman (left) and Federico Fellini (right). Photo: AP

Written in 1969, the script is 'up to the standard of his best', according to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Sweden's consumption footprint 'among the worst'
Trucks transporting goods on a Swedish highway. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden has been criticized for its unsustainable consumption of the planet's resources in the latest edition of a major WWF study.

Video: How to be Joel Kinnaman for a day
Kinnaman with one of the camera rigs that will allow people inside his head. Photo: Tele2

The Swedish Hollywood actor will strap a camera to his head, stream it live and allow viewers to interact with him this weekend.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
How Stockholm's cold climate boosts creativity
Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Do long, dark winters actually make Swedes more creative and more productive? We spoke to Stockholm startups to find out.

Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available