Expelled from Regal Grounds

July 1987. The two bastards, both being sixteen years old at the time, went to the village of Wijnaldum, or Winaem in Mid-Frisian language. The reason for it was twofold. Firstly, the yearly street-kaatsen tournament was taking place. Secondly, one of their classmates Gerda lived closed to the village, and this was a good excuseContinue reading “Expelled from Regal Grounds”

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 the right shoulder, and strangled with a woollen rope. The rope was still around her neck.Continue 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”

Out of averting the inevitable a community was born

March 25, 2020 today. The COVID-19 pandemic is climbing towards its second peak. Uncertainty of how destructive the pandemic is going to be in the long run. How many family members and loved ones will it take? A phenomenon of chaos and destruction that confronts us with the limitations of an engineered world. Some peopleContinue reading “Out of averting the inevitable a community was born”

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, also named Norditi. By 884 the Frisians were fed up with it. They forged swords and axes, raised an army and drove the Norsemen out. For good. It took exactly 10,377 lives on the sideContinue reading “A Theelacht. What a great idea!”

Atlantis found! Wait, there is another one, or 7, wait 12 in total… No, 19!

Atlantis found! Wait, there is another one, or 7, wait 12 in total… No, 19! Frisia could easily claim the title: land of Atlantis. 19 inhabited islands and 244 villages drowned along the old Frisian coast trail in the past 1,500 years. We bet there are more out there… Atlantis emerged in the writings ofContinue reading “Atlantis found! Wait, there is another one, or 7, wait 12 in total… No, 19!”

Rats with wings or Masters of the Sky

Over the last years we have written about the tall and weird-looking people living in the twilight zone of sea and land: the coastal strip along the southern shores of the North Sea. Recently, repetitive long-calls made us aware we developed a blind spot. We forgot all about the animal that inhabits the same coastalContinue reading “Rats with wings or Masters of the Sky”

Shipwrecked people of the salt marshes

Tidal marshlands and Frisians. A dual entity. The Chauci and the Frisians (Frisii) had learned to adapt to this unprotective, hospitable salty environment. A vast area of treelees, tidal marshlands. No rocks, no wood, not much sweet water, and frequently flooded by the sea. But where these tribes nonetheless prospered at the time the ‘civilized’Continue reading “Shipwrecked people of the salt marshes”

Attingahem Bridge

Brooklyn. Named after the village of Breukelen in the Netherlands. Its original Frisian name was Attingahem. With only a twist of history Brooklyn would have been named Attingahem today, and the Brooklyn Bridge therefore the Attingahem Bridge. The streets of Brooklyn, the set of movies like The Warriors (’79), The French Connection (’71), Once UponContinue reading “Attingahem Bridge”

Groove is in the Hearth

The hearth was in pre- and early-medieval times the holy of holies, the heart of the family. Where you would lay back and groove. Groove on the sound of the endless rains on the thatched roof. Or, the sound of the sea water at your feet below. Sloshing against the grassy slopes of your houseContinue reading “Groove is in the Hearth”