From Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus


The exhibition is trilingual (German, English, French). It opens on 6 November 2021, one month before St Nicholas’ Day, and closes on 13 February 2022. The temporal proximity to Valentine’s Day is not a coincidence, since Saint Nicholas is also considered the patron saint of lovers.

O come all ye faithful to the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle): every year, in the Advent season, the museum spruces itself up with Christmassy display windows, a redesigned shop and a glittering Christmas show. The 2021 exhibition puts the spotlight on Saint Nicholas and his evolution into characters such as Santa Claus.

The exhibition presents Saint Nicholas in various shapes and hues. Some of his clothes are reminiscent of his early days as bishop of Myra; sometimes he is dressed in a green, brown or blue coat trimmed with white fur, as befits Ded Moroz in Russia.

The show features Victorian Christmas decoration with Santas arriving in hot-air balloons or zeppelins, as well as candy containers full of sweet secrets. Our young visitors are invited to record a poem for Saint Nicholas (or père Noël, Weihnachtsmann, Santa …) and make it a part of the exhibition. They will get a colouring and puzzle book. On 6 December, Santiglaus himself pays a visit to our young visitors!

Bilder aus der Sonderausstellung

Video der Sonderausstellung