Expelled from Regal Grounds

July 1987. The two Frisian 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 goodContinue reading “Expelled from Regal Grounds”

Shipwrecked people of the salt marshes

Tidal marshlands and the Frisians are a dual entity. The Chauci and the Frisii (Frisians) had learned to adapt to this unprotective, hospitable salty environment. A vast area of treelees, tidal marshlands, frequently flooded by the sea, but where they nonetheless prospered at the time the civilized Romans arrived around the year of Christ. PeopleContinue reading “Shipwrecked people of the salt marshes”

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”

Have a Frisians Cocktail

With the coming seasonal festivities at the end of the year, it is appropriate to serve you a flavorful cocktail. It is a cocktail from the list ‘Myths of Nations’, namely the ‘Frisians Cocktail’. Its recipe is not as old as some people thought it was, or would like it to be, but it isContinue reading “Have a Frisians Cocktail”

Hero of Haarlem: a dragon in disguise?

It was a Yankee by the name Mary Mapes Dodge who wrote ‘Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates. A story of life in Holland’. The book was published in New York in 1865. It is about poor, 15-year-old Hans and his sister Gretel. Gretel wins the Silver Skates. The price for winning an ice skatingContinue reading “Hero of Haarlem: a dragon in disguise?”

Grassland conversations

Being at the grasslands might lead to encounters with farmers or other wanderers and, of course, with ‘birdwatchers’ (see also the note at the end of this post). These encounters go in slow motion, and in clearly defined phases. These phases should be observed strictly if you have any ambition to mingle with locals, orContinue reading “Grassland conversations”

One of history’s enlightening hikes, that of Bernlef

This blog post is not about the Westfrisian writer Hendrik Jan Marsman (1937-2012) whose pen-name was Bernlef. Nor is this blog 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 andContinue 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 every year.Continue reading “Beacons of Nordfriesland”

Haute couture from the salt marshes

It was not the city of Parisius. Nor that of Lundenwic. Believe or not, the early-medieval center for expensive cloth and chique clothing in the northwest of Europe was the Wadden-Sea coast of Germany and the Netherlands. Here the highly sought-after pallia Fresonica ‘Frisian cloth’ was fabricated and distributed over the wider world. It possessedContinue reading “Haute couture from the salt marshes”

Bil. A wasteland of non-integrated migrants?

This is the story of the reclamation of the former Middelzee in the Netherlands. The Middle Sea was a shallow inland sea that used to cut present-day province Friesland into two. Separating the ancient shires Westrachia, present-day Westergo, and Austrachia, present-day Oostergo, from each other. Hence the name ‘middle-sea’. It was a process of centuriesContinue reading “Bil. A wasteland of non-integrated migrants?”