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Two Frisian Bastards

Wut? Did you just call yourselves bastards? Yes, we did. Because that is the best summary for this hike, the Frisia Coast Trail. And the title Frisii soli spes decusque (‘hope and glory of Frisian soil’) is already awarded to someone else anyhow.


If any man sets fire to another’s house, he is no Frisian, he is a whoreson with bastard blood. 

(transl. after Daughters of Frya and G. Jensma).

This hike covers four countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Or in the old regions: West Flanders, Zeeland, Holland and Westfriesland, Friesland, Groningen, Ostfriesland, Butjadingen, Land Wursten, Land Hadeln, Elbe marsches, Dithmarschen, Nordfriesland, and South Jutland.

This stretch of Europe always has been a rough and dangerous place to live. Land and sea have been rolling dices for ages. Lakes emerged, rivers changed course, islands walk in the sea, dunes vanish to emerge somewhere else, man-made villages washed away overnight, dykes were breached by the wild sea.

​Living low, at sea level is not easy. Certainly not when sea levels have a tendency to drop and rise over time. She is such a diva.

This hike will bring 2,000 years of coastal history in 1,000 miles. Trust us, not one century this landscape has been the same.

In that period many people settled in this rough coastal area. Others were just passing by, e.g. the Cannifates, the Batavians, the Chauci, the Angles, the (Old) Saxons, the Jutes, the Geats, the Romans, the Salian Franks, the Vikings, the French, the Spanish, the Germans, etc., etc.

Oh yes, and the Frisians. Some Frisians moved on to Belgium and England, the region of Kent and the Fenlands. Others stayed in this stretch of coastline and mingled with the ones passing by.

Since the two of us are part of the stayers, we are genuine bastards, having drops of blood from all of the peoples named above. But we do not torch houses​!


Frans Riemersma


Hikes, paints and writes. Marketing Technologist and founder Boardview. His late grandfather’s desk is his Fleet Command. From Amsterdam he steers the world.

Frans prefers the joint-bastard initials FH for Frans & Hans, an abbreviation which happens to stand for the once superior black and white Friesian Holland cattle as well. Either way, like any other pedigree cattle, the Friesian Holland cow is a crossbred, hence a bastard too.

Graffiti tag: Roxy

Hans Faber

Hikes, reads and writes. Works by accident as a civil servant in The Hague. “Tries not to die during the many sessions in boring meeting rooms” (Japke-d Douma).

Hans prefers the joint-bastard initials HF for Hans & Frans, an abbreviation which happens to stand for todays superior black and white Holstein Friesian cattle as well. Either way, like any other pedigree cattle, the Holstein Friesian cow is a crossbred, hence a bastard too.

Graffiti tag: Second

Note - If you feel our blog posts about the history of Frisia are biased, we plead guilty. Having said that, we still try to find a history book without any. The question, therefore, is not whether it is biased, but whether it is honest about its bias. Neither is the question: Is it true? No, the question is: how wrong? Take this into account when reading and walking our stuff, and we wish you happy time travels!

Suggested music

Jenny Talia, The Bastard Song (2003)

Talking Heads, Burning Down the House (1983)

Joost Klein, Ski Aggu & Otto Waalkes, Friesenjung (2023)

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