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”

A Wadden Sea Guide and His Twelve Disciples

For those outdoor freaks who consider hiking the mud flats of the Wadden Sea, it is essential to know this is, in fact, not a worldly journey but a spiritual one. The whole Frisia Coast in a way is a spiritual belt, protecting the southern coast of the North Sea against the northern darkness. AlreadyContinue reading “A Wadden Sea Guide and His Twelve Disciples”

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”

Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast!

Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast! ‘Do no let me perish in Friesland!’ A cry-out of a Faroese young woman when she was being kidnapped by Frisian pirates in the Middle Ages. The question of this blog post is not about how on earth it was possible that the people of the Faroe Islands hadContinue reading “Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast!”

Make way for the dead!

High in the Alps of Switzerland, in the region Bernese Oberland, many men, women and children have experienced the great horror of the dead Frisians marching back to their homeland in the dead of the night. The path they follow is called The Frisians Way. Connecting the Haslital ‘Hasli valley’ in the Bernese Oberland withContinue reading “Make way for the dead!”

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!”

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 rain on the thatched roof. Or, the sound of the sea at your feet below. Sloshing against the grassy slopes of your house platform. AContinue reading “Groove is in the Hearth”

Weladu the flying blacksmith

Master blacksmith Wayland is well-known from Germanic 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,Continue reading “Weladu the flying blacksmith”

Liudger, the first Frisian apostle

Liudger succeeded where other evangelists failed. He finally managed to convert the pagan Frisians to Christianity, because he “spoke their language”. Did he really? A very thorough study from Hinne Wagenaar reveals quite a startling truth about this Frisian apostle. Some time ago I stumbled upon an article from Hinne Wagenaar, called “Liudger, apostle ofContinue reading “Liudger, the first Frisian apostle”