The Earliest West European Beliefs in their Israelite Origins

Israelite Origin Traditions:
Netherlands: Holland, Frisia
Proofs Concerning the Netherlands.

Jews in the Netherlands.
Traditions of Israelite Descent in the Netherlands:
Frisia. Frisian-Legends Affirm Their Israelite Origins!

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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

See also:
Holland in Biblical Codes

Questions and Answers about Holland

Our entry on
Zarephath (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 Netherlands: Frisia
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 Origins!
       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.

       "In the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnessar (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".

[Source:  "Friesan Mythen en Sagen" by J. P. Wiesma, 1973. Extract translated and supplied to us by Fred Koeslag 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 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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