In 1965 a small band of Amsterdam anarchists, the Provos, who attacked the middle-class smugness and authoritarianism of Dutch society, sprang into national prominence when they protested the marriage of Crown Princess Beatrix to Claus von Amsberg, a German nobleman who had been in Hitler's SS when he was a teenager. Coincidentally, Robert Jasper Grootveld, a far-out performance artist (or "happener") had been conducting Klaas demonstrations (after Santa Claus or Sinterklaas, a figure brought to the United States by the Dutch founders of New York City)on the streets at midnight, for over a year. Grootveld was protesting the police crackdown on marihuana usage. Klaas became Claus, fusing the two movements, political and absurdist, in 1966, launching the craziest and zaniest of the various Sixties movements, a movement whose momentum served to revolutionize Dutch society almost overnight and create the free swinging city of Amsterdam which the present-day world knows and loves.

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