As most of you probably know, I’m Dutch. Well, yes, I was born in The Netherlands, but actually, I’m Frisian. Frisian people come from the region that is now called Friesland. It lies in the central north part of The Netherlands. Friesland, or Frisia, has been situated on these banks since 1500bc. It spanned from Denmark to the northern regions of Germany along the coast of Holland towards the coastline of Belgium. It fought the Romans with success and basically excited till 1600ad before it merged with what we now know as The Netherlands.
Video: Friesland from above
The Frisians have their own language, which is, by the way, the closest language to English as of today. The Frisians are known as proud people. They persist in speaking their own language and are very strong in preserving their history. On a personal recent experience, I can recall a taxi ride in Berlin. I don’t know how we got to talk, but it appeared the driver was from Eastern Friesland. It was quite remarkable to me how we instantly had a connection and a full on lively conversation for the complete duration of the ride.
Recently my grandfather passed away at age 96 and he was a true Frisian. A strong, warm and very fit character, who basically till his 86th cycled about 40 kilometers a day. Ok, something got missing in my DNA there though. My most lively memory of him is that he took us to a place in Friesland called „Het Rode Klif“ (The Red Cliff). On this site, there’s a landmark in the form of a big stone. In there is written: „Leaver Dea As Sleaf“, which means „Rather Dead Than Slave“.
These words are a memory to the fallen Frisian people, who fought a war with the Dutch people in 1345. „Pride“, someone? Another famous saying is: „Fan Bûgjen Frjemd“, meaning: „We Don’t Bow For Anyone.“ As a memory to my grandfather and me as a person growing awareness about my background, I decided to engrave these two spells in my latest album. Another period in my life, another document.