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 was found. It is dated around the year 400. Among scholars there seems agreement it is Germanic and originates from the southern North Sea coast. Hitherto, no people has claimed beingContinue 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 the VWO (i.e. pre-university education). TheContinue reading “Wa bin ik, wa bist do en wa bin wy?”

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 whalers, self-righteous women, pirates, privateers, and other vagabonds came from. An archipelago which theContinue reading “Yet another wayward archipelago”

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”

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”

The Batwing Doors of Northwest Europe

“Is seaport the Maasvlakte the gateway of northwestern Europe? No? Is it Europoort then? No? Is it the Botlek port area? Is it Vlaardingen? No? Surely it’s the city of Rotterdam! Say what? Okay, final guess. Since you guys only can talk about Frisia, is it the town of Vreeswijk perhaps?” Sorry to disappoint you.Continue reading “The Batwing Doors of Northwest Europe”

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”

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 civilizedContinue reading “Shipwrecked people of the salt marshes”