The Earliest West European
Beliefs in their Israelite Origins
Israelite Origin Traditions:
Proofs Concerning the Netherlands.
Jews in the Netherlands.
Traditions of Israelite Descent in the Netherlands:
Frisian-Legends Affirm Their Israelite Origins!
Proofs Concerning the Netherlands
The Netherlands to foreigners is also known as Holland though strictly speaking
Holland is only one of the constituent Provinces of the Neverlands.
For an article and poem about the Israelite Origins of the Dutch see:
Zebulon and the Sea-Shores
Holland in Biblical Codes
Questions and Answers about Holland
Our entry on
(France) also applies to the Netherlands since it would seem to have been
included in the Biblical geographical designation of
Tserefat (See Chajes Commentary to Nachmanides, "Sefer HaGeulah" part one):
|Coat of Arms of the Netherlands
|Flag of the Netherlands
Jews in the Netherlands
Jews have played a major role in Dutch tradition and culture. Prior to
World War-2 about 10% of the population of Amserdam was Jewish. It is claimed
that many Dutch Jews are actually Dutch by origin and on the other hand that
numerous Dutch Gentiles have some Jewish ancestry. I was told that there is not
a single village in all Holland without its family of recent Jewish origin.
Nowadays Amsterdam still has a reputation of being friendly towards Jews.
Rotterdam (in the south, largest port in the world) on the other hand has a large Muslim population and anti-Jewish
incidents are frequent. In World War -2 Dutch workers risked their lives to
demonstrate on behalf of the Jews. Even so, about 75% of the Jewish population
was exterminated. Together with many who helped save Jews there existed a not
inconsiderable number of collaborators with Germany. Calvinist Protestants in
the North (where relatively few Jews had previously lived) went out of their way
to save Jews, more so than in the rest of the country.
Traditions of Israelite Descent in the
The present population of the Netherlands is about 16 million. Dutch
Frisia numbers about 600,000. Frisia also extends into Germany but there are opinions
that the German provinces of Frisia were later repopulated by other
peoples. The language of Dutch Frisia is close to English. The Ancient Frisians
were closely related to the Anglo-Saxons and identified with them by the contemporary historian Procopius.
Traditions concerning the Israelite
Origins of the Dutch Frisians are what we have and these traditions (though
originating in Frisia) apply equally to the Angles and Saxons.
Adriaan van der Schrieck (1560-1621) a Flemish language researcher in 1614 wrote:
#...the Netherlanders with the Gauls and Germans together in the earliest times were called: Celts,
who are come out of the Hebrews.#
E.C. van Petegem-Feij: Aan de Lezers van Troost Troost Mijn Volk, p. 7.
Early Dutch Traditions Concerning their Israelite Ancestry.
Is het Nederlandse volk een stam van Israel - Pentahof
Adrian van Scriek, Originum rerumque celticarum et belgicarum libri XXIII (Index I-II),1614
Traces Nederlanders to Hebrews who went North and became Celts.
I. Smallegange in "Chronijck van Zeelandt", 1696, traced Dutch peoples such as the Batavians, Frisians, Menapians, and others to ancient Hebrews.
Robertus Albertoma, Groningen, 1736 wrote in "Elia de profeet" that the Hebrews came to the Netherlands.
quotes Petrus Keuchenius (his granfather?) that Nederlanders came from Gilead.
Quotes the Dutch Jewish poet Isaac da Costa (1798-1860) as identifying Nederlanders with Israelites.
The Wikipedia entry on Da Costa indicates that he was a prolific and proficient historian with access to a great number of sources.
Frisian-Legends Affirm Their Israelite
According to Frisian-legends a certain King Adel was a descendant
of Shem son of Noah. King Adel in India had three sons: Friso, Bruno, and Saxo.
Legendary sources quoted by the historian Le Petit (1601, available from the Rare Books Section of Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel) also mention Friso,
Bruno, and Saxo and say too that they were descendants of Shem and lived in
"India". The term "India", however, did not always mean the place known today as
India but rather was more synonymous with "Cush" which term was sometimes applied to areas east of the Caspian Sea in present-day Central
Asia and is the "Cush" (i.e. "Ethiopia") mentioned in Genesis 2:13. The
Prophets Zephaniah (3:10) and Isaiah (10:10) said that 'Cush' was one of the
places to which the exiled Israelites would go. The Aramaic Translation renders
'Cush' as 'Hodu' (sometimes translated as 'India') but is referring to the region of Hara
in eastern Iran and surrounding areas to the north.
Similarly, Le Petit located the "India" he spoke of in a land by the Emodian
Mountains which according to Ptolemy were in the area adjoining the Caspian and
Aral Seas, in east Scythia, to the north of Afghanistan and India-proper. Tzvi
Chasdoi related that in Jewish tradition the area east of the Caspian was known
as "Cush". Jewish legends traced the Tribes of Zebulon and Nephtali to this
region and placed other Israelite Tribes in the immediate vicinity. This is the
locality where Frisian legends say Friso, Saxo, and Bruno came from.
In this land east of the Caspian archaeologists have found the ruins of
an extensive civilization whose inhabitants spoke Aramaic. Some of the Israelite
Tribes had spoken Aramaic even before their exile and the language was used as
an official tongue in the Assyrian Empire and is believed to have been the most
commonly-used one. Phillip Lozinski (1953) argued that from this region east
of the Caspian came the "Barbarian" peoples whom he suggests may have been at
least partly Semitic. They invaded Europe beginning from around the 200s CE.
Additional evidence exists showing that the invaders must have come from Scythia
and the region east of the Caspian. These invasions and migratory movements were
often connected with activities of the Huns who themselves were a mixture of
various peoples. The Huns from this vicinity caused other nations to flee
westward. N.C. Lukman ("Skoldung und Skilfinge", Copenhagen, 1943) showed how in Nordic Mythology the name
Adel (meaning "Noble") was often used as a euphemism for Attila the Hun and for
the Huns in general. In the Frisian legends King Adel was the father of Friso,
Bruno, and Saxo. Scientific Linguists have concluded that the Northern
"Barbarians" who entered Europe had the later European aspects of their
languages imposed upon them by an external force. Brit-Am asserts that originally they spoke both
Hebrew and Aramaic.
|Coat of Arms of Frisia|
|The legends speak of these three brothers being descended from Shem and
having been in Jerusalem at the time of its destruction by the Babylonians.
time of the destruction of Jerusalem by
(586 B.C.), 3 brothers - Friso,
Bruno, and Saxo
with [their] wives, children, and relatives fled out of the country, encouraged
to do so by announcements of the Prophets concerning the fall of the town".
by J. P. Wiesma,
1973. Extract translated and supplied to us by Fred
see also 'The Tribes" p.354 ]
In this legend Bruno represents the Angles who according to Ptolemy had
at one stage been centered on the region of Brunswick in eastern Germany. They
had also had a center in Angeln to the south of Denmark or else they moved to
Angeln prior to the invasion of England. By placing Friso, Bruno, and Saxo in
Jerusalem (which became representative of all Israel) before its capture the
legend in effect infers that the Frisians, Saxons, and Brunswickian-Angles were
therefore originally Israelites or Jews.
The Venerable Bede also identified the Anglo-Saxons as the Chosen People!
F. Koeslag points out that "In legends...events of several eras may be
concentrated around famous historical figures - as you see with Charlemagne".
The legend may therefore be taken as reflecting a tradition that the three
brothers were related to the Jews which is consistent with their belonging to
the Lost Ten Tribes who had been exiled from their own lands in Israel at least
140 years before the actual fall of Jerusalem. The legend contains the
recognition that the three brothers had left the Land of Israel (identified as
"Jerusalem" or the Land of the Jews) before Nebuchadnessar of Babylon captured
it. The northern Israelites had indeed been exiled prior to the Babylonian
onslaught. The Lost Ten Tribes had been re-settled in Assyria and in lands ruled
by Assyria. Another Frisian legend (quoted by Le Petite) says that Albione and 32 sisters went from
Assyria by ship and landed in England which they called Albion. After they
landed, Brutus drove them out of the country and re-named it Britain in his own
honor. The Albioni crossed the Sea and landed in Frisia where they intermixed
with the Saxons and returned together with them to conquer the island. This
legend may also serve as an indicator of Israelite origins since the exiled
Israelites had indeed been re-settled in "Assyria" (or in Assyrian-controlled
areas) before asserting their independence and moving elsewhere.
The legends state that via Asia Minor (present-day Turkey)
the people of Friso, Bruno, and
Saxo came to the west. Friso in 313 BCE landed in Friesland (i.e. in Frisia) and
founded a settlement called "Stavoren". Bruno and Saxo (brothers of Frisso) went
eastward though Saxo (according to Le Petit) then returned to the west. Bruno
founded the city of Brunswick in which area of Germany Ptolemy placed the Angloi
thus identifying them with the people of Bruno. The Angloi (Angles) also moved
northward to the regions bordering Denmark and from there they went to Britain
some of them sojourning (like the Saxons) in Frisia on the way.
For articles on other nations see:
The Earliest West European
Beliefs in their Israelite Origins: Countries Index
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