Last updated
A picture from the original opening of Sesamstraat, 1976
Genre Educational, sketch comedy, puppet show, animation
Based on Sesame Street
Country of originNetherlands (1976-2019)
Belgium (1976-1983)
Original languageDutch
Production companies NOS
Sesame Workshop
Original networkNOS (1976-1995)
NPS (1995-2010)
NTR (2010-2018)
Picture format PAL (1976-2000s)
HDTV 1080i (2000s-2018)
Original releaseJanuary 4, 1976 (1976-01-04) 
June 28, 2019 (2019-06-28)(on hiatus)

Sesamstraat (Dutch pronunciation: ['seːzɑmstraːt]) is a Dutch former television series in the Netherlands, and a spin-off of the U.S. children's program Sesame Street . In its early days the show was broadcast in Flanders (Belgium) as well. It is the second longest-running foreign adaptation of Sesame Street without interruptions, behind only Sesamstraße .



After a pilot episode entitled Sesamplein ("Sesame Square") which released in 1974, Sesamstraat began broadcasting in 1976. [1] [2] It started as a Dutch/Belgian coproduction, with only one thirty-minute episode a week. These episodes had only 12 minutes allotted for the Dutch cast. At this time there were only two Muppets and three live actors, Piet Hendriks, Sien Diels, and Annet van Heusden. Piet owned a hobby and crafts workshop and a camper which he would drive around The Netherlands and Belgium for live trips. Sien owned a grocery store, where the exchange of knowledge and happenings were as important as the selling of products. And Annet played a kindergarten teacher. In 1978, Sesamstraat's format changed to a daily 15 minute show that aired in the evening, around dinnertime.

The first season was shot on location in a half Dutch, half Belgian town. It was broadcast every Sunday for a half-hour in the afternoon. For the second season, a realistic town square was built inside the studio, which slowly evolved into a more abstracted, colourful town, featuring Pino's nest, Sien's store, a workshop, two houses, an apartment building, a trailer and a treehouse. The insides of the house sets could be decorated in different ways, so that the viewers would never be certain about who lived where.

Other special Sesamstraat episodes include the 2500th episode, and a yearly special episode focused on Sinterklaas. The 25th Anniversary series in which Dutch celebrities made guest appearances on the street. On January 7, 2000, Prime Minister Wim Kok read the daily story "Er staat een olifantje in het gras..." (There is a little elephant standing in the grass) for the Muppet residence before they went to sleep. Wim Kok is one of the many prominent guests who read a story to them. (Normally this was done by Frank, Gerda or Paula). Other celebrities that have made guest appearances are: Freek de Jonge (Comedian), Ruud Gullit (Professional soccer player), André van Duin (Comedian), Mary Dresselhuys (Actress), Hans Dagelet (Actor), Kees van Kooten (Writer), Brigitte Kaandorp (Comedian), Sonja Barend (Show host) and Janine Kastelijn (Youth Winner for Reading in 2000).

In 1992, a 30-minute film, Sesamstraat en Melkweg, was produced for the Artis Zoo Planetarium in Amsterdam.

In 2005 the show saw some schedule trouble. The government decided to halt the funding and broadcasts of NPS. The final debate took place on September 12, 2005 in the Tweede Kamer. It was decided that NPS could continue making programs, but it had to make several changes to fit into modern television, including a new broadcast schedule.

For the 2005/2006 season, Sesamstraat moved into new scenery. The set became completely abstract, with toy block-like buildings, broccoli for trees, and a tower with a giant light-up clock. The scenery was introduced with a TV special. Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, and Elmo flew over to the Netherlands for this special occasion. It was the first time the American characters visited the Dutch street.

Starting in September 2006, Sesamstraat expanded to 30 minutes and airs three times a day.

In 2008, the show got 15 minutes of extra broadcast time a day. This meant there was room for two more Muppets. Angsthaas and Stuntkip were introduced.

October 2009 brought a new segment for the show. Several famous Dutch singers perform duets with the Sesamstraat characters Pino, Tommie, Ieniemienie and Purk. All songs were written by Henny Vrienten. The segments air every Friday starting October 30, 2009. Among the artists are Trijntje Oosterhuis, Caro Emerald, André van Duin, Edsilia Rombley, Ernst Daniël Smid, Hind, Guus Meeuwis, Huub van der Lubbe and Willeke Alberti. All the duets were broadcast again in a special on December 25 and 28.

On June 28, 2019, The NTR made public they had to economize again and decided to stop producing the following two years. Instead they will broadcast reruns.


Muppet characters


Pino is one of the most important Muppets in the children's program, and has been a part of the central cast since the show started airing in 1976. He has the appearance of a giant blue bird whose design closely resembles that of Big Bird, who is his cousin. [3] At approximately 4 years old he is a little younger than his friends Tommie and Ieniemienie, and sometimes he has a little trouble keeping up with them. Pino is shy, sensitive, and sometimes clumsy in his childish naivety. Being the second youngest, he likes to play with Purk. He is best known for his funny laugh and his catchphrase "Echt waar?!" ("Really?!").

Pino has had many different performers through the years, including Dirk Grijspeirt (1976), Theo Joling (1977), Bert Plagman (1979), Erik J. Meijer (1980) and Leo Dijkgraaf (1984). In 1991, Renée Menschaar started performing Pino, and she has been his regular performer ever since. She is the first woman to play Pino, who has always remained a boy character.


Tommie is a six-year-old dog. He is clever, energetic and creative. Tommie can write a few words, including his own name, which he is very proud of. He is famous for his own made up exclamations, like "Poe hee!" (approximately pronounced as: pooh hey) and "Hatseflats!". In the 2005/2006 season, Tommie got his own racing car.

Tommie has been around since the beginning in 1976. The first Tommie puppet was made by producer Ton Hasebos from an old fur coat. He was a teddy bear-like creature that walked on all fours. Through the years he evolved from a 'teddy bear' kind of creature to a more doglike animal. Tommie's recent look, which was introduced in 1981, was designed by The Jim Henson Company. The recently refurbished Tommie has a lot more fur in his face.

Like Pino, Tommie has had a few different performers, including Stef van der Linden in 1976 and Martin Pragt in 1978. In 1979, Bert Plagman became Tommie's performer, after sharing the part with Martin. Renée Menschaar (Pino's performer) and Judith Broersen (Purk's performer) both started their Sesamstraat careers as Tommie's right hand. Nowadays, Daphne Zandberg performs Tommie's right hand.


Representing the psychological age of a six-year-old mouse, Ieniemienie is the oldest of the group. [3] She is very clever and smart-alecky, and sometimes she tends to be a little bossy. Her best friend is Tommie. Being the smallest rodent on Sesamstraat, she often hangs out with Pino. Ienie is famous for her giggle, as well as her signature movements like scrunching her nose when she's angry or raising her shoulders when she's confused.

Ieniemienie was introduced in 1980. She started out as a mouse who lived in a hole. Through the years, when female emancipation wasn't as much as an issue on the street, her personality became more childlike and girlish.

The puppet has been refurbished a few times, but without drastic changes; except for the 1996 anniversary special, in which Ieniemienie's legs were shown for the first time, during a stiltwalking scene.

Ieniemienie's performer is Catherine van Woerden. Her arm rods are manipulated by either Marijke Koek or Lindai Boogerman.


Troel is a fluffy white girl poodle. She is very feminine and a little naïve, and she speaks in a high-pitched voice. Troel is the girlfriend of Tommie.

Troel was introduced during the second season in 1977 as the first girl Muppet to star with Tommie and Pino. She was designed to look like a girl version of Tommie.

Troel was performed by Marijke Boon.

Even though the viewers had no problems with her, the producers found her too feminine for a show that dealt with female emancipation, so she disappeared after a year. A newspaper article mentions another reason for her disappearance: her performer didn't get paid as much as the male performers[ citation needed ].

Troel was replaced by Ieniemienie a couple of years later.

The Dutch word "Troel" means "dear" or "sweetheart" in a more informal, sometimes even negative way.


Purk is a baby piglet who wears a diaper and a little bow in her ear. [4] She is clumsy and messy and loves to get herself dirty. She is still learning how to talk, and she can't walk yet. She is taken care of by everyone on Sesamstraat.

Introduced in 2003, Purk is the newest of the Muppet characters. She was created in order to introduce the subject of "a younger child in the family". [4] While the Dutch wanted her to be fat, they felt that Purk should not be too fat due to the issue of obesity. It took three years for Sesame Workshop to approve the character. The actual puppet was based on a drawing by Sesamstraat actor and mime artist Hakim Traïda.

Purk debuted in a Sesamstraat "Sinterklaas" special as a surprise. [3] [4] In the special, Tommie runs away from Sesamstraat, after the adults gave his stuffed crocodile to Purk. Before the taping of the special, Sesamstraat organised a press convention about Purk's 'birth', hosted by Tommie and Ieniemienie.

Purk was designed by Ed Christie and built by Rollie Krewson.

Humans in Sesamstraat

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>The Muppet Show</i> Variety television show (1976–81)

The Muppet Show is a sketch comedy television series created by Jim Henson and featuring the Muppets. The series originated as two pilot episodes produced by Henson for ABC in 1974 and 1975. While neither episode was moved forward as a series and other networks in the United States rejected Henson's proposals, British producer Lew Grade expressed enthusiasm for the project and agreed to co-produce The Muppet Show for the British channel ATV. Five seasons, totalling 120 episodes, were broadcast on ATV and other ITV franchises in the United Kingdom and in first-run syndication in the United States from 1976 to 1981. The programme was produced and recorded at the ATV Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elmo</span> Muppet character on the childrens television show Sesame Street

Elmo is a red Muppet monster character on the long-running PBS/HBO children's television show Sesame Street. A furry red monster who has a falsetto voice and illeism, he hosts the last full five-minute segment on Sesame Street, "Elmo's World", which is aimed at toddlers. He was most often puppeteered by Kevin Clash, but since his resignation in late 2012, he has been puppeteered by Ryan Dillon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Big Bird</span> Sesame Street character

Big Bird is a Muppet character designed by Jim Henson and built by Kermit Love for the long-running children's television show Sesame Street. An eight-foot two-inch (249 cm) tall bright yellow anthropomorphic bird, he can roller skate, ice skate, dance, swim, sing, write poetry, draw, and ride a unicycle. Despite this wide array of talents, he is prone to frequent misunderstandings, on one occasion even singing the alphabet as one long word, pondering what it could mean. He would refer to grocer Mr. Hooper as "Mr. Looper", among other mispronunciations. He lives in a large nest behind the 123 Sesame Street brownstone and right next to Oscar the Grouch's trash can. He also has a teddy bear named Radar. In Season 46, Big Bird's large nest is now sitting within a small, furnished maple tree, and is no longer hidden by used construction doors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grover</span> Sesame Street Muppet character

Grover is a blue Muppet character on the popular PBS/HBO children's television show Sesame Street. Self-described as lovable, cute and furry, he is a blue monster who rarely uses contractions when he speaks or sings. Grover was originally performed by Frank Oz from his earliest appearances. Eric Jacobson has performed the character regularly from the year 2000 onwards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jerry Nelson</span> American puppeteer (1934-2012)

Jerry L. Nelson was an American puppeteer, best known for his work with The Muppets. Renowned for his wide range of characters and singing abilities, he performed Muppet characters on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and various Muppet movies and specials.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lex Goudsmit</span> Dutch actor

Alexandre Joseph Goudsmit was a Dutch-Belgian actor.

<i>Sesamstraße</i> German childrens television series

Sesamstraße is a German children's television series that airs primarily in Germany and the surrounding German-speaking countries. It is a spin-off of the first preschool programme Sesame Street. The show has been running on Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) since 1973, premièring on 8 January in that year. Sesamstraße is also shown on the children's channel, KiKa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dikkie Dik</span> Dutch series of childrens picture books

Dikkie Dik is a Dutch series of children's picture books, starring the eponymous red tomcat Dikkie Dik. The books are drawn by author Jet Boeke, and feature short, concise texts by Arthur van Norden. The series started in 1978 as part of the Dutch version of the children's TV show Sesame Street, but soon the stories appeared in book stores.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aart Staartjes</span> Dutch actor (1938–2020)

Aart Staartjes was a Dutch actor, director, television presenter and documentary maker from Amsterdam. He was well known for his role on Sesamstraat, the Dutch co-production of Sesame Street. On this show, his character's name was Meneer Aart and in this persona he authored a book called Meneer Aart: Leven en werken van de man die geen kindervriend wil heten.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bill van Dijk</span> Dutch singer and musical performer (born 1947)

Willem Edsger "Bill" van Dijk is a Dutch singer and musical performer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leslie Carrara-Rudolph</span> American actress

Leslie Carrara, sometimes credited as Leslie Carrara-Rudolph or the misspelling Leslie Carrera-Rudolph, is an American actress, performer, puppeteer, speaker, singer and artist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abby Cadabby</span> Sesame Street Muppet character

Abby Cadabby, mostly referred to as just Abby, is a Muppet character on the PBS/HBO children's television show Sesame Street, performed by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph. On August 14, 2006, Abby made her debut in the first episode of Sesame Street’s 37th season, when she moved into the neighborhood and met some of the Street's residents. On the day of her debut, her wand broke; Big Bird told her to take her wand to the Fix-It Shop where Maria would fix it. Season 40 features her CGI animated recurring segments titled Abby's Flying Fairy School which was adapted into a proper spin-off. She is also currently the host of another spin-off Abby's Amazing Adventures, with her stepbrother Rudy, which debuted in 2018.

"Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?" is the theme song of the children's television series Sesame Street. It is the oldest song in Sesame Street's history, dating back to the show's beginning on November 10, 1969, and has been used as the title song in every episode of the show.

Alice Catherine Dinnean is an American puppeteer, voice actress and creative writer who works at The Jim Henson Company. Dinnean has performed on many children's television shows such as The Puzzle Place, Sesame Street, Bear in the Big Blue House, Cousin Skeeter, Jim Henson's Pajanimals, Sid the Science Kid and Jack's Big Music Show. She also did work on various non-Muppet productions such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

<i>De Stratemakeropzeeshow</i> Dutch television program

De Stratemakeropzeeshow was a Dutch children's television programme that ran from 1972 to 1974 and was aired by the VARA broadcasting organization.

Elmo: The Musical was a musical Sesame Street segment that began airing in Season 43. It appears in every episode until Season 46, where it alternated with Elmo's World.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monstruos Supersanos</span>

Monstruos Supersanos is a Sesame Street mini-series that debuted in June 2012. The 5 to 7-minute series focuses on activities and foods that keep one healthy. Sesame Workshop produced 26 episodes in English, which initially aired dubbed in Spain on Antena 3 as a Barrio Sésamo mini-series called Monstruos Supersanos. Around 2011, the segments were also released in Latin America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gerda Havertong</span> Dutch-Surinamese actress and presenter

Gerda Alexandra Havertong, is a Dutch-Surinamese actress, television presenter, actress and singer. She is well known for being a recurring character in Sesamstraat, the Dutch version of Sesame Street, since 1984.


  1. "Sesamstraat". Sesame Workshop. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  2. "Dutch up in arms over 'Sesame Street' channel move". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  3. 1 2 3 "What 'Sesame Street' Looks Like Around the World". WTTW Chicago. 2019-08-29. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  4. 1 2 3 Magazine, Smithsonian. "Meet Sesame Street's Global Cast of Characters". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  5. "Aart Staartjes: een man die geen kindervriend wilde heten" [Aart Staartjes: a man who did not want to be called a friend of children]. Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  6. "Zes nostalgische filmpjes met Aart Staartjes" [Six nostalgia filled videos with Aart Staartjes]. Het Parool (in Dutch). 12 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.