Surprise Tropenmuseum X Tomoko Mukaiyama
5 December 2022

DEC 5 SURPRISE Tropenmuseum X Tomoko Mukaiyama

In search of a contemporary alternative to the Sinterklaas celebration? Join us for DEC 5 SURPRISE!

Tropenmuseum X Tomoko Mukaiyama host an evening filled with music, art, Sinterklaas snacks, historical context, workshops, and surprises.

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Looking for a contemporary alternative to Sinterklaas eve?

During this current Sinterklaas celebration, we explore new forms of togetherness. The activities vary from fiercely critical to playful and disarming. You’re in for a special evening with music, art, snacks, background information, talks, workshops, and surprise gifts. One highlight is the performance by Tomoko Mukaiyama, co-initiator of the evening. The Japanese pianist, visual artist, composer, and director will play Fredric Rzewski’s Coming Together.

Practical information

When Monday December 5 2022
Time 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Where The entire museum
Entrance fee € 12 including museum entrance fee
More information 088 - 0042 840


Corner tower

DEC 5 is for capturing

This photo studio does away with stereotypes. Here, the traditional family portrait undergoes an intensive makeover. Photographer Kiriko Mechanicus and hair & makeup stylist Shoji imagine a world where alternative family compositions can take centre stage. So cast off the traditional standards, get transformed, and pose!


DEC 5 is for coming together

Time: 21:00 - 21:30

This musical group of friends will be playing Coming Together. The American composer Frederic Rzewski (1938-2021) wrote this piece after the bloody Attica Prison riot (New York, 1971). Unfortunately, half a century later, his work is as relevant as ever. Co-host Tomoko Mukaiyama emphasises the importance of coming together in a time of individualism and indifference.

With: Chloë Abbott, Claron McFadden, Dominique Chabot, Jonathan Bonny, Tatiana Rosa, Tomoko Mukaiyama, Yung-Tuan Ku

DEC 5 is for decorating

Isabel Wang Pontoppidan is an Amsterdam-based maker of Chinese-Danish descent. This Rietveld alumnus creates jewellery that addresses identity issues. During the evening, she will focus on the complexity as well as the poetry of living in between societies. Welcome to the pop-up shop, where you can glean Wang’s experiences from her ornaments and readings.

DEC 5 is for processing

Speculaas dolls are typically Dutch! Or are they? Many of the spices used in speculaas originally come from Java, the birthplace of Noa Jansma’s grandmother. Its ingredients tie the ‘ultimate Dutch’ biscuit to the country’s colonial past. Noa Jansma reminds us of this connection by baking speculaas in the shape of Indonesian wayang puppets.

DEC 5 is for protecting

Time: 22:15 – 22:25

Carmen Schabracq creates work based on the characters from the myths and traditions she collects. All around the world, people use masks in their ceremonies. Schabracq’s creations are meant to chase away the evil winter spirits, making room for light and joy. So, prepare for a spooky ritual!

DEC 5 is for dancing

With his unexpected combinations of musical styles, DJ Vox Supreme never ceases to surprise the people on the dancefloor. This evening, he will combine various genres and show that music can connect the most diverse characters. Move along on a musical journey through time mixed with sounds and spoken word.

Vox Supreme

DEC 5 is for honouring resistance

Screening of archival film footage of black resistance. Compilation Jessica de Abreu (The Black Archives), with graphics by Simpson Tse.

Shop/ Hall of Light

DEC 5 is for wrapping

Time: 19:00 - 23:00

When giving gifts, the ‘how’ matters too. By wrapping your gift, you increase the surprise effect. In Japan, the higher the number of layers, the better. Many Japanese use furoshiki, wrapping cloths, for this purpose. A furoshiki can be used over and over again. That’s super sustainable. Here you can tie a lasting surprise under the guidance of Naomi Montesinos Seravia!


Feast! Corner Tower

DEC 5 is for surprising others

Matching gifts with artist Tina Lenz

19:00 - 23:00

Small personal gifts are guaranteed to bring great happiness. So how do you make a tailored surprise for someone you love? Design anthropologist Tina Lenz helps you get started: which emotional qualities do you attribute to the recipient? And what meaningful message corresponds with these qualities? Come as a duo or alone and put your brilliant gift in a shoe or present it with a kiss.

Matching gifts

Studio, 1st floor

DEC 5 is for writing poetry from the heart and the gut

Poetry workshop with Babs Gons

Time: 19:45 - 21:00

Every year, Sinterklaas sets many pens in motion. How do you write a poem that is both daring and caring? And isn’t it time to lovingly put the saint in his place? Babs Gons, the recent winner of De Johnny oeuvre prize for stage poetry, has the answer. She teaches how the spirit of creative resistance can inspire us to write something that is both subtle and to the point. Will you brave the main stage with your poem?


DEC 5 is for exchanging views 

‘Zwarte Piet, Doe Maar Niet’ with The Black Archives (in Dutch)

Time: 21:30 - 22:15 

When did the feast of Sinterklaas originate, and where did the controversial character of black pete come from? Lulu Helder (co-founder of Zwarte Piet is Zwart Verdriet, author of Sinterklaasje kom maar binnen zonder knecht, Isabelle Britto (researcher TBA), and historian Elisabeth Koning will talk about the racist caricature of black pete and the resistance against it. Visitors holding a combiticket will receive a discount for the Facing Blackness exhibition at The Black Archives.

Gifts Unwrapped & Our Colonial Inheritance

DEC 5 is for surprise tours 

Take a tour with museum teachers Sherlien Sanches and Jessica Ligori. Gifts Unwrapped is about global wrapping traditions, rituals surrounding giving and receiving, and answers to why children put out their shoes. In the Our Colonial Legacy exhibition, you will experience the link between the interpretation of the Sinterklaas story, colonial thinking, and the creative resistance it engenders. 

Gathering point: Information Desk

Gifts Unwrapped
20:00 - 20:30 | 21:30 - 22:00 

Our Colonial Inheritance
19:45 - 20:15 | 20:30 - 21:00 | 22:00 - 22:30 

Second floor, in front of the elevator

DEC 5 is for swapping gifts

Swap & inspiration market with Het Afvalpaleis

Time: 19:30 - 22:00

Sometimes you get a gift, and all you can you think is ‘Perfect! ... for someone else.’ Or you receive something you really don’t need. Just bring it along and swap it for something else.

The staff of Het Afvalpaleis (Dapperstraat) make sustainability tangible and practical. They will inspire you to make low-budget, beautiful, personalised gifts.

In front of Sabi Suriname / near the Hall of Light

DEC 5 is for toasting

In the 1990s, Otemba Sake decided that it was time to upgrade the sake drunk in the Netherlands. The company has been importing premium-quality sake to Europe ever since. Tonight, we celebrate the emancipation of sake, and from now on, the Japanese rice wine can also be enjoyed with Italian pasta and without wearing a kimono.

DEC 5 is for snacking

On this dark autumn day, we don’t serve mash and sausage. Instead, Hinaichi Bento presents delicious dishes in stunning colour combinations. You are what you eat: these festive Japanese snacks contain all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins you will need for tonight. And the sugar cane packaging is biodegradable.