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 is the Wadden Sea. For centuries it is from here where sea explorers, tax evaders, sturdy whalers, self-righteous women, pirates, privateers, and other vagabonds came from. An archipelago which the Sea BeggarsContinue 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 over 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. Although nearly all the monasteries have been dismantled with the arrival of Protestantism, till thisContinue 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 they died. As it turns out, the coast of Frisia is one big Viking graveyard. It is here, in the (still) smelly blue mud, where legendaryContinue reading “Frisia, a Viking graveyard”

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

New York City, the Capitol of the World. Other names are Gotham, Modern Gomorrah, The Big Apple, Empire City and Bagdad-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”

The Killing Fields, of the Celts

About 2,000 years ago a tragedy unfolded. A sixteen-years-old girl, who suffered during her young life from scoliosis, was killed. Her red hair was shaved off on one side, she was stabbed at the base of her neck on at the right shoulder and strangled with a woolen rope. The rope was still around herContinue reading “The Killing Fields, of the Celts”

Rowing souls of the dead to Britain: the ferryman of Solleveld

In 2004, a unique discovery was made at the early-medieval grave field of Solleveld, just south of the city of The Hague: a boat grave. Exactly two hundred kilometers, perfectly east, across the North Sea, of the legendary boat burial of Sutton Hoo. With this one-of-a-kind found, the Netherlands joined the ranks of ship-burial-countries. AContinue reading “Rowing souls of the dead to Britain: the ferryman of Solleveld”

It all began with piracy

The arrival of the Romans in northwest Europe at the beginning of the era, with the River Rhine as frontier, was the starting signal for five centuries of widespread piracy. Piracy that not only affected the coasts of Britannia and Gaul. It stirred things up even as far as the coasts of the Mediterranean andContinue reading “It all began with piracy”

With the White Rabbit down the Hole

R1b/Hg1/Eu18; R-M213; R-M9; R1b-M45; R-M207; R-M173; R-M343; R-L278; R-L754; R-L389/R1b1a1; R-M415; R-P297/R1b1a1a; R-M269/R1b1a1a2; R-M520; R-L23; R-M412; R-L11; R-S21/U106/M405/R1b1a1a1a2a1a1… Knock Knock… Wake up Neo… Follow the White Rabbit…| These serial numbers, chronologically arranged, represent groups and subgroups of people who genetically share a common ancestor. Pulling these protein strands is like going down the Rabbit Hole.Continue reading “With the White Rabbit down the Hole”

Merciless medieval merchants

The earliest proof of Frisian merchants trading in slaves dates from the seventh century. It was Venerable Bede himself, the Father of English history, who documented this criminal act. It was a merchant doing business on the London markets, who also traded in slaves. In this blog post we shed some light on this darkContinue reading “Merciless medieval merchants”

A Theelacht. What a great idea!

Halfway the ninth century, Vikings had established more or less permanent presence in Frisia in the former district called Nordendi or Norditi. By 884 the Frisians were fed up with it. The forged new swords, raised an army and drove the Norsemen out. For good. It took exactly 10,377 lives on the side of theContinue reading “A Theelacht. What a great idea!”