A Frontier known as Watery Mess: the Coast of Flanders

At the end of the eighth century, by decree of Charlemagne and under supervision of the wise men Wlemar and Saxmund, customary law of the Frisians was codified. It is the Lex Frisionum. Its jurisdiction was, among other, the land inter Flehum et Sincfalam fluvium ‘between Vlie and Sincfalam river’. The river Flehum flowed intoContinue reading “A Frontier known as Watery Mess: the Coast of Flanders”

The Raider’s Portrait of Appels

In the year 1934, while dredging upstream the River Scheldt near the village of Appels in the region of Flanders, an extraordinary ship’s figurehead (see featured image above) was found. It is dated around the year AD 400. Among scholars there seems agreement it is Germanic and that it originates from the southern North SeaContinue reading “The Raider’s Portrait of Appels”

Wa bin ik, wa bist do en wa bin wy?

“If you don’t care about your own history, you may as well leave the classroom.” Words from the geography teacher at high school Simon Vestdijk in the port town of Harlingen in 1988. We, the two Frisian bastards, were about sixteen years old and in the fifth grade of VWO (i.e. pre-university education). The annoyedContinue reading “Wa bin ik, wa bist do en wa bin wy?”

More Flying ‘Dutchmen’

On the first of February 2020, one of the Frisian bastards of the Frisia Coast Trail tramped the trail section from the town of Bad Nieuweschans to the village of Termunten. It is a hike of 30 kilometres along the southern shores of the Dollart Bay. The day before, in the evening, the bastard arrivedContinue reading “More Flying ‘Dutchmen’”

Happy Hunting Grounds in the Arctic

If you want to find out who is responsible for killing the whale, the Frisia Coast Trail area is the prime spot to look. When you stop people on the streets in this coastal region to ask them if they have knowledge of who did it, they probably will respond with: “I hear nothing, IContinue reading “Happy Hunting Grounds in the Arctic”

Yet another wayward archipelago

Peoples of islands and archipelagos do not let others dictate how to live their life. One of those archipelagos that meets these criteria as well, is the Wadden Sea. For centuries it is from here where sea explorers, tax evaders, sturdy Arctic whalers, self-righteous women, pirates, privateers, and other vagabonds came from. An archipelago whichContinue reading “Yet another wayward archipelago”

With a Noose through the Norsemen’s Door

Although the conversion was a slow and cumbersome process, and only succeeded in-depth in the course of the tenth century, Frisia subsequently turned into the richest ecclesiastical area of Europe. Nowhere else were that many monasteries and churches packed together. Even though nearly all the monasteries have been dismantled with the advent of Protestantism, toContinue reading “With a Noose through the Norsemen’s Door”

Frisia, a Viking Graveyard

When reading about the famous deeds of great Viking warriors, often not much attention is given to the moments of failure. Not much is written about where and when the glorious men, and women, died. As it turns out, the coast of Frisia is one big Viking graveyard. It is here, in the (still) smellyContinue reading “Frisia, a Viking Graveyard”

History is written by the victors – a history of the credits

New York City, the Capital of the World. Other names are Gotham, Modern Gomorrah, The Big Apple, Empire City and Baghdad-on-the-Subway. With Times Square being the self-proclaimed Centre of the Universe. Amidst all this grandeur and bigness, portraits of two seventeenth-century men from the small villages Peperga and Koudum in the south of province Friesland,Continue reading “History is written by the victors – a history of the credits”

Presence of mind to ask the right question

‘The path will provide,’ is a familiar saying among hikers while on the trail. The flipside of this attitude is you might not have the keenness to recognize an exceptional opportunity. Your mind gets lazy. It is exactly what happened to one of the Frisian bastards during his solo-hike through the harsh mountains of Corsica.Continue reading “Presence of mind to ask the right question”