Tuesday, 25 August 2009

F is for...

Frysk en Frij

Several years ago my sister and I were on a cycling trip through the North of the Netherlands. It was tiring! I've never been much of a sportsperson and I had to pull the trailer loaded with stuff we hardly needed... Anyway. On one of the easier days (no trailer) we did a poetry tour. The tour consisted of cycling past a number of Frysian farms which had texts on the roof and were part of a particular poem.

"Tusken himel en ierde - Reade rotsen - Anno Domini - Erflik Boerelân - Sjoch! - Tusken blau en grien - Fersliten iistiden - Fryslâns memmeboarst - Achter de streek - Fier fier de seilen - Tusken himel en ierde - Yn 'e azem fan 't wetter - It âlde laach - Frysk en frij - Hark! - Yn 'e ivige wyn - Skiednis en takomst".

"Between heaven and earth - Red rocks - Anno Domini - Hereditary farmland - Look! - Between blue and green - Worn-out ice ages - Friesland's motherbreast - Behind the line - Far far the sails - Between heaven and earth - In the breath of the water - The old tribes - Friesian and free - Listen! - In the eternal wind - History and future".

I am from Friesian descent, my father and all his family are Friesian. The area they are from is in the Netherlands, but Fryslân or Friesland is extended through Germany and Denmark as well. The language has some variations, but generally speaking, you would be able to understand a Frysian from any country.

Of all the Dutch immigrants to Canada, most came from Fryslân, sometimes decimating villages! Frysians abroad tended to stick together even more than the 'regular' immigrant and the 'Simmer 2000' event (Summer 2000) meant a massive reunion all over the province! Thousands came back to go to school, family or village reunions, meeting up with old friends and family.

For more F-words, please go to ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!


  1. Mara, Your post was very, very interesting - I love learning about other cultures. I'm reminded of a book in my "to read" pile - The Tricking of Freya, by Christina Sunley. It's a story about a family who emigrated from Iceland to Canada - the culture, the mythology, all so fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Interesting. You are so smart and you always amaze me.

  3. SO interesting Mara - original post for 'F'.

  4. unFAMILIAR with your family roots. thanks for sharing.


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