Sunday, 13 May 2012

Hunkering voor de Nederlands

In the post below, "THE MULTIVERSE, PARALLEL UNIVERSES, PAST LIVES"  I talked a little about remembering enough clues of my last life to put me in Western Europe.  I made a small study of the Netherlands, which I think is possibly the best 'guess' of which country I had lived in c.1900 - 1955.  Many children come into this world with 'memories' but often, parents tell them 'it is just a dream you had' and then the child forgets it...  and doesn't recognise other links and clues that come up for them during life's procession.  Luckily, I had a pretty spiritual Mom, and I never felt like I had to 'disbelieve' any of my memories. Thanks Mum  : )

New Zealand (Sealand) is so lucky to be 'discovered' and named by a Dutch navigator  :D  I feel close links between the Netherlands and New Zealand. I think our cultures are quite fundamentally similar - unpretentious, hard working, land loving, agrarian peoples.  We make the very best of our tough situations...  For Holland, it's water (level); for NZ, it's water (distance)  :D  I think both of our cultures are 'tough' and resilient and would probably understand each other very well.  Enough now of the history and anthropology  :D  
I love the Netherlands !!   :D

The photos here are mainly landscapes from the Dutch province of Friesland. This part of the Netherlands was where the Fresian-Holstein breed of dairy cow originated around 2000 years ago, and which is the primary milking cow used in New Zealand today in our billion dollar export industry  : )   Thank you Frisia.





A brief history of the Netherlands

"God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands"

At the end of the last Ice Age, the "Low Countries," now called Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were inhabited by scattered hunter-gather groups. 8,000 years later when the Roman Empire was first coming to power, varied Northern European tribes had settled in, including the Celts, Frisians and Saxons.  With little resistance, those Romans eventually conquered the Netherlands; building military outposts and cities, including those at Maastricht and Ultrecht.  Over time, three distinct cultures formed and prospered here: the Franks in the south, the Frisians along the coastlines and the Saxons in the east. By the mid 700's, most of the people were converted to Christianity, and then, the Vikings arrived.

This mostly tranquil expanse of western Europe was first invaded in the early 9th century. The overpowering Vikings removed the accumulated wealth, destroyed some settlements of note, and remained in power until crushed at Ultrecht by a German king in 920.  As a result, and beginning with King Otto the Great, German kings held sway here during the 10th and 11th centuries.

Around 1100, coastal swamp lands (all frequently flooded) were being drained and cultivated by the Frisians, farms were developed, towns quickly grew in influence and economic trade groups (leagues) formed.  Repetitive and devastating flooding of the lowlands continued to occur, and over 120,000 people (collectively) drowned in the All Saints Flood (1170), Noordholland Flood (1212), St. Marcellus flood (1219), and the Zuider Zee seawall collapse in 1287.  Regardless, regional port cities grew powerful, and some became (local) independent empires; nobles and self-appointed rulers converted their own holdings into personal kingdoms, and into that mix (almost predictably) neighbors battled neighbors, wars were fought for land control, and then, a new opportunity presented itself.

With support from local (now tired of bickering) power brokers in the Netherlands, the Flemish Duke of Burgandy (from France), almost by invitation, united all factions; wars were ended and peace and prosperity followed. One of the by-products of that unity was Dutch shipping, as its fleet grew into a consequential force in the 15th century, with Amsterdam the principal port.  

Burgundian rule over the "Low Countries" ended in the early 16th century, mostly by conquest. The Habsburg dynasty under Charles V gained control, but in short-order the lengthy struggle for independence surfaced. In 1548, Charles V granted limited autonomy to seventeen provinces of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.   When Charles was succeeded by his son, Philip II, the Catholic King of Spain, the new king was outraged by Protestant influence in the "Low Countries," and tried to enforce the brutal Catholic Inquisition policies.  Led by Prince William of Orange the locals promptly rebelled, and the resulting Eighty Years' War finally ended in 1648, with the Spanish expelled and independence at hand. 

The so-called Golden Age (1580 to 1740) brought great prestige and wealth as the Dutch East India Company sent ships from Amsterdam across the seven seas. A few Asian countries were colonized, as well as islands in the Caribbean (the Netherlands Antilles), and even New York City, calling it New Amsterdam.   With the largest mercantile fleet in Europe, and a now dominant position in European trade, the Netherlands were on a roll. With new-found riches, Amsterdam experienced a cultural renaissance of its own, and flourished into a mecca (or center) of culture.

All good things must come to an end, and as the British Empire expanded its naval power, the Dutch lost their long-held dominance of the sea. The economy soon stagnated, international trade decreased, and at the end of the 18th century, though  Amsterdam   remained  influential, the top dog was now London.  To make matters worse, the Netherlands publicly recognized America's struggle for independence. Subsequently miffed, Britain declared war and it proved an economic disaster for the provinces. Trouble often follows trouble, and in 1795 the French invaded and Napoleon appointed his brother (Louis) king, and turned the Netherlands into the Kingdom of Holland.

The French occupation of the Netherlands ended in 1813 after Napoleon was defeated, a defeat in which William VI of Orange played a prominent role. He was crowned the first King of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, a combination of Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Like many alliances, this one was also short lived as Belgium declared independence in 1830, followed by Luxembourg in 1890.  The Netherlands declared their neutrality during World War I, but in World War II the same approach failed. Germany invaded with very little resistance, Rotterdam was bombed, the royal family fled to the United Kingdom, and the persecution of the Jews began. Over 100,000 were murdered, and one brave, young Jewish girl named Anne Frank would come to personify that terrible time in human history.

In February of 1953, a huge storm caused the collapse of several dikes, and almost 2,000 drowned in the resulting tidal surges. So began the Delta Project, a project that included a huge series of outer sea-dikes, and inner canal and river dikes built to protect this fragile land from disastrous flooding brought on by the constant pressures applied to it by the North Sea.  Today nearly 50% of the land here remains just above sea level. The massive and costly Delta Project and other engineering marvels have to date prevented the North Sea from doing any significant (additional) damage. However, climate change and rising waters could prove daunting to the Netherlands in the future.

In the 1960's and 1970's, social changes in drug policies, environmental issues, euthanasia, religion, same-sex marriages and women's rights propelled the country into a mecca of liberal ideology. The country was a founding member of NATO. It also proudly joined the European Union (EU), and adopted the Euro in 1999.

Always waging war against rising water, there's an old Dutch saying, "God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands."  Well, the Dutch have also created a lasting legacy of art, personal determination, and some of the most familiar icons of our modern world.  

"Wedding"  Bruegel, Pieter the Elder         "Wedding"  Pieter The Younger Brueghel                                                                         (This is a favourite painting of mine)

  "Peasant and the Birdnester"                       "The Peasant Dance" (detail)
   Pieter Bruegel                                           1567 - Pieter the Elder

The discovery of New Zealand by Abel Janszoon Tasman - Holland (1603-1659)

Abel Janszoon Tasman was born in the village of Lutjegast, in today's province of Groningen in the Netherlands, in 1603...   In 1632 he married Jannetje Tjaerts.  He was already a widower at the time, and was recorded as being an ordinary sailor - "vaerentgesel" - and that he lived in a street in Amsterdam called Teerketelsteeg.   In 1633 Tasman signed up with the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC). The East India Company was managed by a board of seventeen - "de Heeren XVII" - the Lords Seventeen - and was appointed by Chambers in the principal trading towns. Eight Chambers were situated in Amsterdam, and four Chambers were in Zealand, a maritime province of the Netherlands.

On signing up with the Company, Tasman left for the East to fulfil a three year contract...

On 13th August 1642 Tasman received instructions to find the mysterious and supposedly rich Southern Continent, which had been eluding and tempting explorers for centuries. This unknown land, Terra Australis Incognita, was said to stretch across the Pacific...

Two ships were prepared for the voyage : the "Zeehaen"  ... of 100 tons carrying 50 men, and the "Heemskerck"  ... a small warship of around 60 tons and carrying 60 men...

"Towards noon we saw a lage high lying land, bearing south-east of us"
~ Abel Tasman (1642)

On 13th December 1642, the coast of New Zealand came into view, and Tasman noted in his journal "groot hooch verheven landt" (a large land, uplifted high). Tasman named this land "Staten Landt", which refers to the "Land of the (Dutch) States-General."  The area of New Zealand which Tasman sighted was in the vicinity of the coast between modern Hokitika and Okarito, on the west coast of the South Island.  Tasman thought, but was not sure, that he may have discovered the western edge of the land discovered in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1616 by his fellow countrymen...  situated to the south of Chile...

At sunset on the 18th December, the Dutch anchored off the coast of Taitapu Bay (nowGolden Bay) . Here they decided to try to locate a good harbour, and then to make an attempt to go ashore. It was necessary to find fresh drinking water.  A cockboat and a pinnace (a small, fast sailing Schooner) were sent to survey the area.

The two boats returned with their report, and shortly after, as night fell, lights were seen onshore. Two canoes appeared, and the inhabitants began blowing what appeared to the Dutch as a "Moorish" instrument [possibly conch shells].  The canoe people called out to the Dutch, but communication was impossible as neither the Dutch nor the canoe people could understand each other. After a while, the two canoes paddled away.

The following morning, another canoe appeared, and once again the natives called out to the Dutch. Communication remained impossible. Tasman noted that the men in the canoes "had black hair tied together right on top of their heads, in the way and fashion the Japanese have it at the back of the head, but their hair was longer and thicker. On the tuft, they had a large, thick, white feather. They were naked from shoulder to waist".

The Dutch tried to tempt the Māori to come on board, without success.  As the group of Māori appeared to be friendly, and after a council on board the Heemskerck with the officers of the Zeehaen, the Dutch decided to sail further in, and anchor as close to the shore as possible. In the meantime seven more native canoes appeared, some approaching to within a stone's throw of the ships.

In order to avoid the possibility of too many natives attempting to board the ships, the skipper of the Zeehaen, who had been convening on board the Hemmskerck, sent a cockboat back to the Zeehaen with a message warning his junior officers to be on their guard.   However, on returning to the Hemmskerck after delivering the message, one of the native canoes suddenly paddled swiftly and directly at the Dutch cockboat and rammed it, killing three sailors and mortally wounding a fourth.  Three other sailors were able to swim towards the Hemmskerck, to be plucked from the sea and to safety.  The natives made off with one dead body [possibly to use as a meal] threw another into the sea, and set the cockboat adrift, which was recuperated by the Dutch.

The Dutch fired on the swiftly retreating Māori, but the canoes were already near the shore and out of firing range.  The Dutch ships immediately weighed anchor and set sail.  By this time, twenty-two native canoes were massed on the shoreline, and 11 more, "crowded with people", were swiftly paddling towards the Dutch ships.  Tasman waited until the canoes were close, before firing only one or two shots at relatively close range.  One Māori, standing in a canoe, was hit. This immediately caused the canoes to turn and return rapidly to the shore.

Because of this incident, Tasman named the bay "Moordenaers Baij" - Murderer's Bay.
After this unhappy first encounter, the Dutch ships continued in a northerly direction, passing by and naming the Three Kings Islands, (in honour of the biblical Three Wise Men, as Tasman anchored here on Twelfth Night Eve) at the northern tip of the North Island, where the South Pacific Sea and the Tasman sea meet.  Tasman named the northwest tip of the North Island of New Zealand Cape Marie van Diemen, after Antony van Diemen's wife, Governor General of Batavia, before heading away, not ever having had the chance to set foot onshore in New Zealand. He returned to Batavia on 14th June 1643...

Tasman died in 1659, apparently leaving 25 guilders to the poor of his village. His property was divided between his wife Jannetje and Claesgen, his daughter by his first marriage.

From the end of the 1600's onwards the Dutch began to lose their supremacy at sea. France and England became the new sea powers.  However Dutch charters were still consulted by other European explorers, as the Dutch were reputed to have established the best maritime charters in the world at that time.

The name "New Zealand"

There were actually two New Zealand's at first

The very first time the name "New Zealand" appeared in history was in 1606, when the Dutch ship "Duyfken" set off on a search for gold and riches, rumoured to be somewhere in the Spice Islands region. During the excursion, the Captain of the Duyfken, Captain Willem Jansz, discovered an island off the coast of New Guinea, which he named "Nieu Zelandt."

The name "Nieu Zelandt" remained on maps until at least 1792.

The second New Zealand

Once it was discovered that the "Staten Landt" of Tasman was not part of State Landt, the name Nova Zeelandia, or Nieuw Zeeland became attributed to this country within the decade. The name Zelandia, or Zeeland, appeared on maps for the first time around 1645.

There appear to be no records which explain precisely how New Zealand received its name.  One theory is the possible link between New Zealand and Hollandia Nova, the original name given to Australia. The two Dutch provinces of Holland and Zeelandt were separated by sea, the same as Hollandia Nova (Australia) and Zelandia Nova (New Zealand).

The province of Zeeland is located in the south-west of Holland. It consists of a number of islands, hence the name of "Sea-land".  It includes a strip which borders Belgium.  The capital of Zeeland is Middelburg.   Denmark's largest island is also called Zealand (in Danish: Sjælland)

Friesland ( pr. West Frisian: Fryslân, Dutch: 'fris.lɑnt) is a province in the north of the Netherlands.   

Up until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân. Nevertheless, Friesland remains in common usage, being the Dutch (and English) name for the province.

Friesland has 646,000 inhabitants (2010) and its capital is Leeuwarden (W.Frisian: Ljouwert), with 91,817 inhabitants, in the center of the province. 

Anthem: De âlde Frieze

Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands.
Up until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân.  Nevertheless, Friesland remains in common usage, being the Dutch (and English) name for the province.

Friesland has 646,000 inhabitants (2010) and its capital is Leeuwarden (W.Frisian: Ljouwert), with 91,817 inhabitants, in the center of the province.

Fryslân distinguishes itself from the other eleven provinces by having its own language,  West Frisian, which is also spoken in a small adjacent part of the province of Groningen, to the east.  Closely related languages, East Frisian ("Seeltersk", which is different from "East Frisian (Ostfriesisch)", a collection of Low German dialects of East Frisia) and North Frisian, are spoken in the Saterland and in North Friesland areas in Germany, respectively.

Friesland is mainly an agricultural province. The famous black and white Frisian cattle and the well known black Frisian horse originated here. Tourism is another important source of income, principal greatest tourist destinations including the lakes in the south west of the province, and the islands in the Wadden Sea in the north.

Another interesting feature is the presence of many windmills. There are 195 windmillsin the province of Friesland, from a total of about 1200 in the entire country !!!   In the warmer months, many Frisians practice wadlopen, the traditional art of wading across designated sections of the Wadden Sea at low tide  : )

Since the late Middle Ages Friesland was renowned for the exceptional height of its inhabitants, which were long and by far deemed among the tallest groups of Indo-Europeans of the world. Even early Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri refers this in his Divine Comedy when, in the canticle about Hell talks about the magnitude of an infernal demon by stating that "not even three tall Frieslanders, were they set one upon the other, would have matched his height"   : )

It's interesting Caroline that when I was going through my family history to find a surname for myself (I changed my names except for my first name, by Deed Poll in 1988) the surname I chose that I liked and felt comfortable with was 'Llewellyn'. Now... doesn't this sound a smidge like 'Leeuwarden' to you ??  :D   

I love the Friesland flag Caroline !!!   :D   They can call it 'water lily leaves' if they want...  but we all know they're "love hearts", right ?? To me, this flag looks like it says: "Love is carried on the seas to all corners of the world"  :D  How cute.  What do you think?  :D hehehe...

The Province of Frisia   (historic I think?)

Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional  homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language.

Frisia extends from the northwestern Netherlands  across northwestern  Germany  to the border of  Denmark (Vidå).

Some history of Frisia

Roman times
The Frisii began settling in Frisia around 500 BC. According to Pliny the Elder, in Roman times, the Frisians (or their close neighbours, the Chauci) lived on terps, man-made hills. According to other sources, the Frisians lived along a broader expanse of the North Sea (or "Frisian Sea") coast. Frisia at this time comprised the present provinces of Friesland and North Holland.

Kingdom of Frisia
The Frisian Realm during its great expansion.
The Frisian kingdom, 6th - 8th century.
In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Frankish chronologies mention the northern Low Countries as the kingdom of the Frisians. However, these were probably not the Frisians of Roman times...  During this time, the Frisian language was spoken along the entire southern North Sea coast...
Distant authors seem to have made little distinction between Frisian and Saxon... To account for East Anglia's distinct land-holdings in carucates forming vills assembled in leets, partible inheritance patterns of lands held in common among a kinship, resistance to manorialization and other social institutions, a case has been made for Frisian cultural domination there from the fifth century...

The earliest Frisian records name four social classes, the ethelings (nobiles in Latin documents) and frilings, who together made up the "Free Frisians" who might bring suit at court, and the laten or liten with the slaves, who were absorbed into the laten during the Early Middle Ages, as slavery was not so much formally abolished, as evaporated. The laten were tenants of lands they did not own and might be tied to it in the manner of serfs, but in later times might buy their freedom...

The ploegg or East Frisian rott was a compact holding that originated with a single lineage or kinship, whose men in early times went to war under their chief, and devolved in medieval times into a union of neighbors rather than kith and kin...

Loss of territory
... After a few centuries of increasingly divergent history, the western part of Frisia became the county of Holland in 1101, Frisia began to identify itself as a country with free folk in the Middle Ages...  There were many floods in the 11th and 12th centuries, which led to the deaths of many and eventually formed the Zuider Zee. The largest flood occurred in 1322.

Opstalboom League
The free Frisians (actually petty noblemen) and the city of Groningen founded the Opstalboom League to counter feudalism.  The league consisted of modern Friesland, Groningen, East Frisia and the German North Sea coast, and parts of the Danish North Sea coast (Schleswig)  ... The Opstalboom League was short-lived; it collapsed after a few years because of continual internal strife.

15th century
The 15th century saw the end of the free Frisians. The city of Groningen started to dominate Groningen. A petty nobleman in East Frisia managed to defeat the other petty noblemen and became count of East Frisia. The Archbishop of Bremen-Hamburg and the king of Denmark conquered large areas of Frisia.  Only Friesland remained for the Frisian Freedom. Friesland was conquered in the 1490s by Duke Albert of Saxony-Meissen.

Later, the giant Pier Gerlofs Donia (Grutte Pier) would fight for his country's freedom. He had many successes, but ultimately failed to secure Frisia's independence. He died as a farmer in 1520. A statue dedicated to him is displayed [on Wiki below]  He is estimated to have been seven feet tall.   

Frisian territories

West Friesland remained a part of Holland and became a part of North Holland around 1800. The current region of West Friesland is smaller than historical West Friesland...  Friesland got its independence back (with constitutionalized farmer representation) in 1581 and gave it up again in 1795.  It is now a Dutch province.

East Frisia became a part of the Kingdom of Prussia and was formerly a district of the federal state of Lower Saxony in the Federal Republic of Germany.   Groningen has been a province of the Netherlands since the 16th century.  North Frisia was a part of the Danish duchy of Schleswig (also: Southern Jutland) and belongs now to the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The Frisian islands off the coast of the Netherlands and Germany are the leftover dunes of flooded lands.

After looking at some maps and history today Caroline, i'm thinking/ feeling that the most likely places my 'family' farm would have been, would be somewhere around Kollumerland or more likely i'm feeling, in the area somewhere between Beetsteerzwaag and Oosterwolde.  I can see i'll have to get my copy of "The Farm Book" by Rien Poortvliet back, that i've loaned to a Dutch friend of mine.  It's a beautiful book.  It has Dutch farming areas in it...  typical homesteads and the land.  I brought the book in the early '80's.  I was somewhat inspired to buy it because of my feeling of connection with it even back then...  and also because of the Dutch family that i'd boarded with in NZ after leaving my hometown, where I felt really at home.  It was with them that I learned I really love rollmops  :D  and lettuce salad with this amazing 'butter dressing' that Gonnie used to make and vegetables with nutmeg  :D  Mmmmm....    I never took to the salt liquorice though  :D  

Jan and Gonnie brought me back some Delft Blue from their trip back to Holland during the year I stayed with them...  4 little egg cups in a wooden rack  : )  I really like them.  I still have them, even though i've had many house moves (around 45 of them) since receiving them in 1980  : )   This connection's been going on for ages Caroline.  It's not just something that's 'dreamed up'.  It recapitulates too often to be "co-incidence"  : )   I'm pretty sure this last life (Maria) c.1900-1958 was on a dairy farm in Friesland whereas the earlier one of the 12th Century (Mariana)  yes... same names essentially  : )   was possibly more coastal in the Old Kingdom of Frisia...  or my feeling is even further south in the region we now know as Belgium.  It struck me that in the 11th and 12th centuries there were a lot of floods.  I knew Mariana had been orphaned and she finally fled to Britain...  but I didn't know if it was war, or what.  It could have been these floods where many lives were lost.  I know she was extremely sad...  all the time, a heaviness on her heart  : (

Gosh, it's no wonder I so strongly value personal freedom when I read about the Frisian's valuing the concept of "freedom" so strongly to the point of actively setting up "leagues" and consciously offering such "resistance to manorialization" and so on.  They didn't want a class system at all, so I think they were great idealists...  even dissolving their 'slave class' eventually, over time.  It would be such an unpalatable thing to the Frisians I would think.   I was really interested to learn too that at different points along the way in their long history, they had civic laws or traditions such as "inheritance patterns of lands held in common among a kinship"  (7-8th centuries) and "began to identify itself as a country with free folk in the Middle Ages".   I can totally see how I would 'fit' in these types of societies through the ages.  I would have not thrived at all in repressive societies ~  I need my freedom too much  : )   so I think my soul being hasn't 'chosen' those conditions very often  : )  

As far as "remembering"  ??   I have one 'real' memory...  and that's of being a little child with my parents looking at a farming scene exactly like the photos in my introduction  : )  

In my late 30's I was quite involved with a spiritual group "Soul's Quest" here in Hamilton.  One night the guest speaker was a woman who did past life regressions.  It was really interesting.  She gave her talk first for around 45 minutes and explained how this all worked and then she asked the group if we'd like to 'do' it.  Of course we said 'yes'.  I don't know if you've ever done one of these Caroline...  quite a deep meditation...  going back...  and back...  and back...   very relaxed, very open, not 'thinking'...  just letting it happen.   And in this deep meditative state following this woman's instructions, looked down at the little feet...  then took note of the ground they were standing on (brick cobblestones)  ...  then 'looked up' and took note of my surroundings - which was a large enclosed cobblestone area at the back of a long flat thatched farm house with stables and chicken coops and cow barns all built into the enclosure.  I always wondered about the bare feet...  but I also looked at some average temperatures today for the area and found the maximum on record for July in recent times was 38 celcius for Lueewarden...  so this was certainly possible for a little girl out on a farm in mid-summer to be running around with bare feet  :D  The 'meditation' went on to when she was an older woman...  and I noticed she was alone on the farm...  running the farm...  but with children.  I asked why...  then realised/ knew it was the Second World War.  And then other 'awareness' and knowing came to me as well about her life there on the farm, the parents on the farm, the German military who were stationed in the area who she was supplying often with produce from the farm, and so on.  It was a very hard life.

My third real 'clue' was around 1-2 years later when I was watching a Danish language movie when I was in my late '30's.  I was so absorbed in the movie, "Pele the Conqueror", that I jumped up in the chair in shock when I realised i'd just translated the Danish before the English sub-titles came up !!!!  And the words were not similar...  I replayed the video and there's no way I could have 'guessed' at those words !!!  :D

So, "No" Caroline...  not memories  : )   But yes...  absolute certainties... in my mind anyway  : )  and just far too many co-incidences such as 30% of my male boy-friends up to this point being drawn from German, Dutch, Swedish extraction.  The others have been Kiwi lads of British colonial descent like myself.  No other cultures in there except these ones  : )   ... plus I cried today when I read that saying:  "God made the earth but the Dutch made the Netherlands..."  Because I know that saying...  somewhere deep inside me from 'back there' somewhere.   And I got very choked up too when I started finding all these amazing rural photos of farms with these cattle bridges and windmills...  it's all so familiar  : )   It's been an interesting afternoon  : ) xxx

Caroline - Wow, Bron, I am amazed by the inspiration that lead to your research about Friesland/Frisia. Wonderful to see this, and read these interesting bits of Dutch history. I read things here that are new to me, too! Thank you, dear, It has been quite a long time ago since I read about this, I am sure some of these things have been told at school during history class, however at that time it did not really interest me much...I was way more into drawing, nature and music as a young girl...history was always about WAR, in my memory...Nowadays I find history way more interesting;)

Yes, the Friezen, or Frisians are proud people (often tall with blond hair) with their own identity and their own language. Children learn the Frisian language in primary school in Frisia, together with Dutch and English.
The locality name signs are written both in Dutch and Frisian ever since the 1950's.( Just like in Ireland, where they are both in Gaelic and English)
The Frisian farms are very charming, and you may not be surprised two years ago I had my eye on a farm for sale in the North Western area, in Hantum, and I had a wish to buy it together with a friend of mine, but she is too attached to her birth province, Zeeland ;) and did not feel like moving to Friesland. Friesland appeals to me quite strongly and is an area I think of when I dream about a little farm for myself. Farms in Frisia are still quite affordable compared to other areas of Holland.
I live in the area north of Amsterdam, close to what is called, West-Friesland, that is situated in the north part of the province North Holland. The dialect spoken in West Frysia is closely related to the Frisian language. The attractive about Frisia is the openness of the land, you can see far and wide and always have your eyes on the horizon. You can imagine I can feel a bit confined when I am in a country with mountains, not being able to see the horizon! Combined with my fear of hights, my love of the green grass and old trees, I am quite aware I have Dutch blood running through my veins...when I fly back to Holland and see the water, green grass fields and windmills below me, it does feel like coming home, in more than one way.
Frisian farms are often proudly decorated with a certain type of ornament called Uilenbord (lit: Owl's board) or ûleboerd (Frisian). These triangular boards protected the roof ridge of the farm against rain coming in. They also have a hole in the centre to let the owls come in so they can make nests under the roof, they were welcomed into the farm to catch the mice.

Thanks Bron, for your inspiring investigations into Frisia. I am still convinced there is a beautiful little farm in Frisia waiting for me and it will manifest itself to me at the right time. When that time arrives, be sure you are warmly invited ;)
Dank je wel, Bron = Thank you, Bron!
Fijne avond = Have a nice evening
With love = Liefs
gjøedendagj = goodday in Frisian

Dearest Caroline,
Thank you so much for your greetings and your welcome to me this morning.  I love all these photos and little explanations  :D  How wonderful to be living in such acceptance and harmony with all nature that Frisians welcome owls into their roof space  :D   How sensible is that ??  :D  I love it !!   I had the feeling too of being in the plane when you were describing it.  I also got teared-up a bit as I went with you in the plane...  down and down to earth, to the patch-work quilt of green and yellow fields after making hay and where little buildings came into view, becoming larger and larger, some with slowly spinning arms on them  : )    ... where long silvery and deep dark blue 'ribbons' stretch out as far as the eye can see all across the countryside, glinting in the Northern Hemisphere summer on a 30 degree day  :D   That feels like paradise to me  : )   I would certainly love to come there one day.  Since I was a teenager for 'no apparent reason' I have wanted to go to Amsterdam...  mainly to see the old buildings  : )   I think this is a trip I will now certainly have to plan for...  now with your invitation !!!  :D   hehehe....

Dank je, Bron, voor deze mooie woorden! Thanks, Bron, for these wonderful words...This is for you
Slide show of Friesland, with the Frisian anthem

Fryslân Friesland

De mooiste plek van Nederland

Uploaded by  on May 25, 2010
Rivieren, het boerenland, de duinen, veengebied of de zee. Nederland is uniek,want nergens vind je zoveel verschillende landschappen en gebieden op zon kleine oppervlakte bij elkaar.

I really enjoyed seeing these Caroline.  Thank you so much my dearest.  I hope you're having a good week  : )  xx Bron

Oh Lord...  And now I need a Rollmop !!  (Dutch pickled herring)  :P

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