Like Father, Unlike Son

The Battle of Tours in 732 turned out to be a turning point in the wars against the Umayyad Caliphate. The Caliphate was one of the biggest empires in history, but it lost this battle. At the confluence of the rivers Clain and Vienne, the Franks, led by statesman maior domo Charles Martel, only justContinue reading “Like Father, Unlike Son”

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 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”

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!”

Magnus’ Choice. The Origins of the Frisian Freedom

According to medieval legends, around the year 800 Charlemagne and Pope Leo came into conflict with the citizens of Rome. The Pope was being attacked and fled the city. It was an army of ‘naked’ Frisians headed by Magnus that retook the citadel and the eternal city. In return Charlemagne offered wealth, weapons, treasure andContinue reading “Magnus’ Choice. The Origins of the Frisian Freedom”

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”

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: the bard and harp player Bernlef who lived in Frisia somewhere between 760 and 840. “ThôContinue reading “One of history’s enlightening hikes, that of Bernlef”

Is Magna Frisia fact or fiction?

Here are some maps that help you locate the Frisians in the Early Middle Ages (500-800 AD). We combined old maps, archaeological finds, old scriptures and historical research. In one of our previous blog posts we pinpointed several locations where the 5 Frisian kings set foot. In this blog we focus on the Frisian territoriesContinue reading “Is Magna Frisia fact or fiction?”

Follow the footsteps of Five Frisian Kings

We plotted the exact locations of the whereabouts of the five Frisian kings Finn, Audulfus, Aldgisl, Redbad and Poppo. We might have even hit some royal DNA samples. GPS, ready, go! Just follow and click the blue pins on the map below. Plotting the Frisia Coast Trail hike When shaping the Frisian Coast Trail weContinue reading “Follow the footsteps of Five Frisian Kings”

Why was Redbad skinny dipping in eau de Cologne?

In March 716, Redbad’s army reached the shores of Cologne. That is deep in the Frankish heartlands and way out of the traditional Frisian coastal territories. Sure, Frisians were smelly bastards, but eau de Cologne wasn’t invented yet. Was Redbad ahead of his time or why else did he end up there? A movie aboutContinue reading “Why was Redbad skinny dipping in eau de Cologne?”