Black Pete has become the subject of protests in the Netherlands. Opponents say he is a caricature of an African slave carried over from colonial times: Pete is usually portrayed by white people wearing blackface makeup, bold red lipstick and frizzy "Afro" wigs.
But a large majority of the Netherlands' mostly white population says that Pete is a positive figure, and denies any racial insult.
Last month an Amsterdam court agreed with findings by a Dutch discrimination vetting board and a U.N. advisory panel that Pete's look is offensive.
Pam Evenhuis, spokesman for the Amsterdam committee that organizes the arrival of Santa Claus, or "Sinterklaas" as he is known in Dutch, says change is necessary to make sure the children's festival is fun, not controversial. Details are still being debated.
"The Pete photo-shoot for 2014 isn't ready yet," he said.
In the Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas arrives on a steamboat laden with gifts, accompanied by numerous "Petes." More than 250,000 people attend in Amsterdam alone.
Evenhuis said it's not possible to change Pete's appearance drastically from one year to the next, as his current look is engrained in the minds of both adults and children.
Though Amsterdam is influential, other towns, businesses and individuals across the country may not want to change his look, the mayor said.