Ornament of the Gods found in a mound of clay

In the year 516, king Hygelac of the Geats, a tribe in the southeast of Sweden, raided Frisia. Back then, this part of the Netherlands was impenetrable land with big rivers, little streams, swamps, peat, bog and damping forests covered with moss. Hygelac’s expedition could have gone better, since he was killed and not oneContinue reading “Ornament of the Gods found in a mound of clay”

We’ll drive our ships to new land

In the series Myths of Nations we disclose to you this time that the Frisians, in fact, did not come from India, as the old legends tell us. A bummer, we know. And, what is proven yet again in this post, we should listen more often to Led Zeppelin. In particular to their Immigrant Song.Continue reading “We’ll drive our ships to new land”

Weladu the flying blacksmith

Master blacksmith Wayland is well-known from mythology. The blacksmith who was kept captive on a small island in the sea, and escaped from it with selfmade wings. The Saxons, Anglo-Saxons, Norwegians, Icelanders, in fact, all the old Germanic peoples had their own medieval stories or artifacts relating to Wayland. Even the Franks did. All, exceptContinue reading “Weladu the flying blacksmith”

One of history’s enlightening hikes, that of Bernlef

This post is not about the Westfrisian writer Hendrik Jan Marsman (1937-2012), whose pen-name was Bernlef. Nor is this post about the student corporation Bernlef in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. This is all about the original. Bard and harp player Bernlef, who lived in Frisia somewhere between 760 and 840. And ifContinue reading “One of history’s enlightening hikes, that of Bernlef”

Beacons of Nordfriesland

Nordfriesland, or North Frisia. The western coast and islands of the region Schleswig. Stretching from the Danish town Tønder in the north to the River Eider in the south. A broad strip of land by the sea with all islands in between. It is here where a specific celebration of bonfires takes place on 21Continue reading “Beacons of Nordfriesland”

In debt to the beastly Westfrisians

This post is about the harsh history of the ‘beastly’ Westfrisians, and especially those of the town of Medemblik. Medemblik, grande dame of region Westfriesland in province Noord Holland in the Netherlands. There are many legends about Medemblik. For example that it was the city where king Radbod resided. But, above all it is aContinue reading “In debt to the beastly Westfrisians”

Island the Walcheren: once Sodom and Gomorrah of the North Sea

In contrast to the Sunday’s rest of today, for centuries the Walcheren Island was a pagan retreat and safe haven for the Vikings with their slightly aggressive business model. Heathendom was rooted deeply on this island. Even in the eleventh century, the Catholic Church still feared its inhabitants would return to their former pagan godsContinue reading “Island the Walcheren: once Sodom and Gomorrah of the North Sea”

Tolkien pleaded in favor of king Finn

Between 450-455 at the southern coast of the North Sea, a betrayal took place that has not been forgotten ever since. And it never will. It is the bloody battle at the citadel of king Finn. Or, Fin Folcwalding Fresna cynne, as he was named in the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith. A poem dating from theContinue reading “Tolkien pleaded in favor of king Finn”

How a town drowned overnight

Rungholt. A thriving and wealthy town that disappeared overnight in the year 1362. For six centuries only legends told us about what happened to Rungholt: a town submerged in the sea as a punishment of God. According to medieval legends, you could still hear the sound of its bell tower rising from the dark depthContinue reading “How a town drowned overnight”

Terrorist Fighters from the Wadden Sea

When it comes to de-radicalization of foreign terrorist fighters, Frisians (in this context modern region Ostfriesland in Germany and provinces Groningen and Friesland in the Netherlands) do not have a good track record, and have not much expertise to offer. The only thing they can contribute to today’s challenges of combating terrorism is to illustrateContinue reading “Terrorist Fighters from the Wadden Sea”