To the end where it all began: Ribbon Ribe

Let’s go to the omega, the end of the Frisia Coast Trail. To Ribe in southern Jutland, Denmark. The oldest town of Scandinavia. A town located on the banks of the river Ribe Å. A modest river that flows out into the Wadden Sea opposite the islands Fanø and Mandø. It started as a seasonalContinue reading “To the end where it all began: Ribbon Ribe”

Walfrid, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

This post is not about Aindreas Ó Céirín (1840-1915), better known as Brother Walfrid from Ireland, and who founded the Scottish football club Celtic. No, this post is about the original. The Frisian named Walfrid who was murdered by a bunch of roaming Vikings in the late tenth century. These atrocities took place at theContinue reading “Walfrid, You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

The Thing is…

The heart of western democracies is the joint assembly of parliament, cabinet and high councils of state. Its Germanic origin is the thing, also called ting, ding, ðing or þing in other writings. Today, national assemblies in Scandinavian countries still refer to this ancient tradition. For example, the parliament the Faroes Løgting, of Greenland Landsting,Continue reading “The Thing is…”

With a Noose through the Norsemen’s Door

Although the conversion was a slow and cumbersome process, and only succeeded in-depth in 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. Even though nearly all the monasteries have been dismantled with the advent of protestantism, toContinue 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 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”

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, 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!”

The Abbey of Egmond and the Rise of the Gerulfing Dynasty

Monk Ecgberht of Ripon was the driving force behind the Christianization of the headstrong heathens of Frisia. From the influential monastery Rath Melsigi in Ireland, he released salvo after salvo of monks, priests and other clergymen on Frisia. Monks Willibrord and Adalbert were yet another two of his spiritual soldiers. After having received their educationContinue reading “The Abbey of Egmond and the Rise of the Gerulfing Dynasty”

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 Island was a pagan retreat and safe haven for the Vikings with their slightly aggressive business model. Heathendom was rooted deeply on this island. Even in the eleventh century, the Catholic Church still feared its inhabitants would return to their former pagan godsContinue reading “Island the Walcheren: once Sodom and Gomorrah of the North Sea”