A hospital in the Netherlands drew condemnations earlier this week after a photo emerged showing a dark-skinned baby boy under a sign referencing a Dutch character who wears blackface makeup.

Zwarte Piet, Dutch for "Black Pete", refers to Saint Nicholas' helper, who is traditionally portrayed with a black face, said to come from chimney soot. The custom has come under fire in recent years, with many declaring it racist and rooted in the Netherlands' slave-trading past.

The photo led to accusations of racism on social media, prompting the country's immigration authority to send an employee to investigate. 

In response, the hospital posted an apology on Facebook. Staff said the Dutch names for Saint Nicholas and Black Pete were used to test the electronic signs and had nothing to do with the infant patient.

The boy's mother was also quoted in the hospital's statement, saying that the incident was a misunderstanding and not the hospital's fault.

Twitter users debated the hospital's explanation: