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”

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 they died. As it turns out, the coast of Frisia is one big Viking graveyard. It is here, in the (still) smelly blue mud, where legendaryContinue reading “Frisia, a Viking graveyard”

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”

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!”

Foreign Fighters returning from Viking war bands

From 2012 around 5,000 foreign fighters from European countries went to the Levant to fight. Six years later, an estimated fifteen percent has died in battle. Others are still in the Middle East, imprisoned or perhaps on the move to centers of conflict elsewhere in the world, now that the terrorist groups are in theContinue reading “Foreign Fighters returning from Viking war bands”

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

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