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Nederlands Heidendom

Heidens Jaarboek 14 (2020)

Just before the end of 2020 the 14th “heathen yearbook” of the Dutch group “Nederlands Heidendom” (‘Dutch heathenry’) is made available. 150 Well printed pages on A4 format.

The main theme of this edition is the Frisian king Redbad who died 1300 years ago in 2019. The first of two Redbad articles from the hand of main editor Boppo Grimmsma is a short one showing how Redbad was popularised leading up to 2019 with books, a play and a film.

Grimmsma’s second article is much longer and takes a big chunk of the 14th yearbook. He investigates how likely the year of death 719 is correct, if the available information on his death (after a lengthy sickbed) makes any sense, but most of all: if the hagiography Vita Wulframni has an edited, yet original Frisian hero-saga about Redbad incorporated into it. Displaying and weighing sources, Grimmsma reaches a few uncommon conclusions, such as that the “devil” that appears to Redbad in a dream is not Wodan, as some investigators claim, but “Fra” (the Frisian counterpart of Freyr).

Another contribution of some length is of myself. I tried to make a compilation of the information I gathered about Franz Farwerck.

There is a text by Gijsbrecht on the Lekebacken ancient graveyard in Sweden, another translated part of Jan de Vries’ Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, Gerard continues his investigations into ancient symbolism by looking into the three dots and then we have a whole pack of 999 character stories that are presented at the twice yearly celebrations of the group. Since there were no yearbooks in 2015-2018 there was some catching up to do.

So again a varied and interesting read for those who are able to read Dutch. Click on the cover on information how to obtain your copy.

2020 Nederlands Heidendom

Heidens Jaarboek 13 (2019)

“Yearbook” became a relative term, since the previous edition was published in 2015, but better quality than speed, right?

As we got used to, the Heathen Yearbook is a well printed book of a descent size (134 pages) for a low price (below € 10,-) with a variety of texts.

The book opens with a text about the wolf that has returned to the Netherlands. The history of sightings and settling.

Gerard wrote about the ancient symbol of the zigzag line which can be found on the oldest of archaeological findings, in many cultures and is still in use. Being a symbol for water it became a symbol for the sky (where the rain / water comes from) and lightning (accompanying the rain). The line with variations is followed through time.

By and far the longest text is by Boppo Grimmsma who wrote about the Frisian God Thuner and in extenso Thor / Donar. There are Frisian sceattas (very small, silver coins) with a face on it that most investigators call “Wodan”. Grimmsma argues that this is actually Thuner. He has several arguments for his assumption. First he shows that the coins are made in Frisia and not in Denmark and shows how the time in which the coins are made, make it likely that a ‘defence against Christianity’ statement would be made. Then we get lengthy investigations of Thor / Donar to prove that the head is indeed not that of Odin / Wodan. Grimmsma uses recent publications and findings which makes that his text brings you up-to-date with Thor investigations with, of course, stress on his Frisian counterpart.

After this follows a book review, translated parts of De Vries’ Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, which are about the sacred (“hailag”) and related topics, three of the stories from the Midwinter story contest and there are three poems by Hella.

Cheap, varied, with limited availability and (of course) in Dutch. Do not wait too long to get your copy. Click on the cover for more information.

2019 Nederlands Heidendom

De Geestelijke Wereld Van De Germanen * Jan de Vries (1943/2016)

In 2004 members of the Dutch heathen group Nederlands Heidendom (‘Dutch heathenry’) started to translate a 1943 work of the famous Dutch ‘Germanist’ Jan de Vries (1890-1964) about ‘the spiritual world of the Germans’ into Dutch. There was a revised edition of De Vries’ book published in 1964 which formed the basis for this translation. Chapters that were finished were published in the “Heidense Jaarboeken” (‘heathen yearbooks’), but now they are bundled together and published with extensive introductions in a well-printed booklet. This booklet is only available for members of the Nederlands Heidendom forum, so if you are one of those and missed it, be quick, the edition is not large. When you are not a member of the forum, you know what to look for on the black market!

The first (unnumbered) 60 pages contain four pieces of introduction from the hand of Boppo Grimmsma. He explains why the translations were started in the first place (even some Dutch find it difficult to read German), he made a biography of Jan de Vries, poses some theories about the lost manuscript of a Dutch version by Jan de Vries himself and then uses De Vries’ own ideas to see how objective the book is. This last part is more or less another biography, because it describes the man’s background and times and how these elements coloured his worldview and consquentally his work. Here you will also learn a thing or two about De Vries’ choices during the Second World War and how these choices polluted his name and fame when the war was over. These 60 pages are informative, well-written and entertaining, but contain some double information.

After these introductionary pages, 176 pages follow with the translation of the book of Jan de Vries. In seven chapters De Vries explains how the early inhabitents of North-Western Europe looked at the world. The subjects include honour; the sib/kindred and man’s place in ancient society; fate, heil, law, the soul; love and relationships; poetry and art (with well printed images); and in the last chapter, religion, cult and magic.

De Vries wrote this in an almost story-like style with many short references to a wide range of texts and sources. He touches upon etymology, comparitive myth, colleague investigators, archeology and what not. Still it remains a fairly easy-to-read book.

What is worth mentioning about this Dutch translation is that however the translation was made by six different people over the periode of about a decade, there are no big differences in writing style between the different chapters. Quite a feat! Even more of a feat is the current project, since members of Nederlands Heidendom started to translate De Vries’ major work of 1000 pages. The current title has “Raven-Reeks deel 1” (‘Raven series part 1’) on the back, so this suggests that more titles will follow. That might take a few more decades then I think.

So, when you have contacts with(in) the group of Nederlands Heidendom, make sure to get your very nicely-priced copy before it is too late.

2016 Nederlands Heidendom

Heidens Jaarboek 2014

The ‘heathen yearbooks’ are actually planned to be published early in the year, but the twelfth edition took a bit longer to finish. This time no attempt was made to stay around 100 pages and the well-printed booklet reached up to 134 which make up for seven longer or shorter essays.

The yearbook starts with looking back at the past year in which a group split off of Nederlands Heidendom. Then follows the continuing translation of Jan de Vries’ famous Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte into the Dutch language. The chapters are about the soul(s) and (fittingly as we will see later) Fate.
Next up is Gerard who bought an old wood-carved plate and investigates its symbolism and function.
The two next articles are by Boppo Grimmsma. Both texts he earlier used during the group walk in the fall of 2014 through an area overlapping parts of the provinces Drenthe, Overijssel and Fryslân. These texts are mostly historical and explain some things that are still left to see in the area of what used to be seen there.
The most interesting text is of guest-author Frank Bosman who wrote a penetrating analyses of the Heliand. Bosman describes it as a perfect synthesis of Christian and prechristian religion. The author of the Heliand is both critical towards and full of praise about the new religion. He made some original adjustments in order to be able to give a story of a warlord Jesus rather than the Jesus from the Bible.
Next up is myself. I was asked to make a Dutch version of my 2012 text about the Primal Law which you can read in English by clicking the link.
At the end, three 999 word stories of the story-telling-competition are published.

As always a nice little publication for people who can read Dutch and are interested in history and the prechristian religion.

Heidens Jaarboek 2013

The 11th ‘heathen yearbook’ is again around a 100 pages, but to reach this, a large part is printed in a smaller font. This large part is a translation (into Dutch, the language of this publication) of several paragraphs of Jan de Vries’ Altgermanische Relgionsgeschichte. Indeed, not every Dutchman likes to read German. Besides, the books of De Vries are not easy to find (or expensive) and there are some Dutch heathens who like make translations. Their current project is the massive Altgermanische. The paragraphs printed are about giants, ghosts, goblins and the like.
The next text is a heavily illustrated investigation of the heart symbol by Gerard. He found the symbol in two forms all over the world and reaches some surprising conclusions.
Editor Boppo Grimmsma wrote a text called Runes In Frisia or ‘Frisian runes’. Not many rune-inscriptions have been found in Frisia, but Grimmsma argues that the Frisian ‘Futhorc’ is not entirely the same as the often compared Anglo-Saxon ‘Futhorc’. Some investigators even distinguish between the two and speak about Frisian runes found in the UK. Grimmsma tells us about the development of the runes and the differences between the two mentioned Futhorcs.
Now follow three very different stories of 999 words that were based on the same photo and read at the Friday-night of the 2012 Yule weekend.
A nice peek into the daily, heathen lives of previous king Gerard and (by now also previous) queen Weorþan is granted in the form of an interview with the two.
The last article is of Axnot van Fivelgo. He initially intended to write an article about his investigations into faerytales, but when he found out that most people have to background whatsoever in this subject, he turned his article into an introduction into this field of investigation. His nice text refers to authors and methods that I have come accross in the comparable field of comparitive myth. Lots has been catalogued and structured in both fields in the past century. The author also gives a few faerytales to illustrate his search, starting with a Dutch faerytale that is older than the books of the brothers Grimm.
As always the ‘heathen yearbook’ is a nice publication with scientific and lighter material. It comes nicely printed and is not expensive. The availability is limited though, so if you want your copy, click on the cover and order it rapidly.

Heidens Jaarboek 2012

Nederlands HeidendomJust before the Yule weekend the 10th edition of the heathen yearbook is made available by the Dutch group Nederlands Heidendom (‘Dutch heathenry’). The new volume is again a well printed and well-bound booklet of 100+ pages and it contains translations and original texts. For the translations the remaining two chapters of Jan de Vries’ “Geistige Welt Der Germanen” (‘spiritual world of the Germanic peoples’) are published. The longer chapter is a very interesting chapter about fate, the primal law and related subjects. After this comes a nice piece of personal investigations by Boppo Grimmsma. He investigates the word and the concept “rune”. Starting with showing the word “RunoR” (‘runes’) indeed did refer to characters inspite of what the two Dutch scholars that he refers to early in the text wrote. The proof comes in runic quotes and leaves little to contradict. It appears that the word also had another meaning though, especially in the singular form runa or runo. That other meaning is “secret”, but can also be deliberation, or council. Things become more interesting when looked at the word as a verb and pretty soon Grimmsma is talking about Germanic mysteries. The author investigates different mysteries and comes back to the Germanic ones. One of his conclusions I do not fully agree with (mysteries are to ensure the initiatant of a life beyond this one), but when Grimmsma finds out that Germanic mysteries are fundamentally different from the better known mysteries in regard that most mysteries are individualistic and aiming for ‘unio mystica’, the Germanic (and other shamanistic) mysteries always have the community in the center. The initiatant is not looking for personal gain, but the benefit of the family or tribe and this goes perfectly with the Germanic state of mind in general. This is a thought-provoking path that deserves further investigation.
Next up are 5 stories of the story-contests that are held annually. Each story has to be exactly 999 words, heathen and according to the chosen theme. Added is a story that was written by Boppo Grimmsma, but since he is also the jury, his story did not partake in the contest. The stories that did make it into the finals are (respectively) of the hands of Gerard, Axnot, Arianne, Draak and Gijsbrecht, very different stories based on the same instructions. The 10th heathen yearbook ends with a short text of Gerard investigating the symbolism of three and five dots that can be found in a variety of sources all over the world.
You will have to read Dutch, but the yearbook is not expensive and always a nice read, especially when you just spent the weekend with the lot.

Heidens Jaarboek 2011

This issue is already the ninth ‘heathen yearbook’ and the fifth that I review. The A5 size booklet again looks better than before with glossy paper and a colour cover, well bound and well printed. Most of the texts are from the hand of Boppo Grimmsma who wrote the introduction, tells the reader why to visit the Externsteine (also on the cover, but the photo is ‘photoshopped’ a bit of course), he interviewed the Dutch author Aat van Gilst and the Frisian novellist Willem Schoorstra. A lengthy article of Grimmsma is about the Balder myths. The author gives some information about the different interpretations that scholars in the course of the years gave to the myth and comes to his own less black-and-white conclusions in which one explanation does not exclude every other. Michiel de Nijs contributed an article about working with land-spirits and similar beings. At the end the reader will find the five stories that were read at the 2011 Midsummer weekend, this time with as theme a fairytale with a mythological foundation. The result is a nice 104 page booklet (written in Dutch of course) that you can get by clicking on the cover and following the instructions.

Heidens Jaarboek 2010

However the title means exactly the same as “Heidnisches Jahrbuch“, these publications have nothing to do with eachother, but of course, they are alike in more than one way. The “Heidens Jaarboek” is a small, self-published booklet by the Dutch heathen group “Nederlands Heidendom”. Like the German counterpart it is an anual publication with essays about (contemporary) paganism. The eighth issue already contains two more chapters of Jan de Vries’ Die Geistige Welt Der Germanen (‘the spiritual world of the Germanic people’ by lack of a better translation), translated from German to Dutch. In the fifth chapter De Vries speaks about poetry, the role of women in Germanic society; in fact a deep peek into the old Teutonic psyche. De Vries used a very poetic writing style that must have been quite hard to translate, but the translation is done very well. The sixth chapter of Die Geistige Welt is again about poetry, in particular the ways of constructing poems and later the focus shifts towards other forms of art, metallurgy and woodworking. Quite a few pages and also quite a few well-printed images. The new “Heidens Jaarboek” is very well printed in general on glossy paper and with a colour cover. In any case, besides these two chapters of Jan de Vries there is a short essay about Langobards and Kynekephalen (dog-faced men), whether they were a trick or an actual elite warrior group. The opening article is about Stellingwerf and the turbulent history of this area laying between the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Drenthe. Are the inhabitents Frisians, Drenths or neither? Boppo Grimmsma traces back the history of the inhabitents and their language.
A limited number of books are printed, so if you are interested, quickly click on the image to get ordering information. Of course the booklet is in Dutch.

Heidens Jaarboek 2009

In 2009 Nederlands Heidendom” (“Dutch Heathenry”) has been around for 9 years, an anniversary to celebrate. This 2009 “yearbook” is already the 7th and is for a large part dedicated to the anniversary. “Boppo Grimmsma” who is not one of the founders, but an early member who more or less acts as chairman, gives a story of the 9 year history and tells how a small group became mostly a growing virtual group and later a practising group arose, also growing in number. At Midsummer and Midwinter the weekends open with writing contents and the booklet presents some of these scribblings. Other than those, there is an interesting article of Grimmsma again about the three colours. Besides the known information he connects the colours to the three fases of the day (black, night; red, dawn; white, day) and suggests that the order of the colours matters. Of the contest writings the one of Grimmsma in which he portrays himself as a Frisian chauvinist is the most enjoyable. There are numerous other authors too, do not worry. Again the most professionally looking, this 9 euro A5 booklet with 96 pages containing 3 articles and 18 stories is a nice read for a long winter night.

Heidens Jaarboek 2008

HJB 6The Dutch group “Nederlands Heidendom” is getting more and more ‘professional’, which is clearly shown by their sixth “Heathen Yearbook”. As the title says, this is an annual publication and this time it is nicely bound and it has a colour cover. The yearbook has about 100 pages with some nice articles of varried kind. The opening article is a nice and lengthy article about the Yule celebrations and it is written by Boppo Grimmsma. Grimmsma has collected all kinds of information about ancient celebrations, myths and habbits. It is not really new information, but nicely put together and a nice variety of sources is used. Next up is a shorter article by the same Grimmsma about the correct name of the last Dutch pagan kind Redbad. After this follows a lighter part, because there has been an essay competition and all short stories are presented here. The texts varry from descriptions of member of Nederlands Heidendom through the fictional eyes of an outsider to visions of a future in which pagan sacred places are reclaimed. Amusing! Grimmsma again then tells us something about ancient cultic celebrations. The last article is more like the announcement of the second version of a Dutch book about Northern witchcraft and magic, which seems interesting, so I hope I will not miss it again.
All in all a nice publication for a nice price. Of course written in Dutch. Click the link I gave earlier for more information.