Were the Dutch Vikings

Were the Dutch Vikings? The Netherlands and Vikings

Were the Dutch Vikings? This is a relatively common question among academics, as well as those interested in Viking history. After all, we still don’t know as much about the Vikings as we would like.

Limited historical documentation and archeological digs have given us only a basic knowledge of how the Vikings lived.

What we do know, however, is Vikings were dedicated travelers. They spent a significant amount of time exploring the shores of different countries across the globe.

As such, there’s a good chance the Viking culture, and genetics, have made their way into the modern communities we know today.

The raids and settlements of the Vikings covered most of the coast of the North Sea, which meant there were Vikings not just in the UK, but throughout the Netherlands too.

Today, we’re looking at the history of the Netherlands, and Vikings.

Vikings from the Netherlands

Were there Dutch Vikings?

Analysts and historians have confirmed the presence of the Vikings in the Netherlands. In fact, Danish Vikings ruled throughout most of the northern coast of Frisia — the name for the Netherlands before it evolved into the region we know today.

On their various raids, a group of Vikings ended up making settlements throughout Frisia, primarily during the 9th century.

The Vikings, led by the Haraldsson family, had a significant impact on the emerging culture of the Netherlands, until they were slaughtered and ousted by the natives at the end of the century.

Although many Vikings were eventually removed from the Netherlands, this doesn’t mean the Viking culture left the location entirely.

Indeed, the Dutch people are believed to originate from the same Nordic Bronze Age as the Norse people. The common ancestry among the Scandinavian people helps to connect all of the Germanic cultures and languages we know today.

Were the Dutch Vikings

Did Vikings invade the Netherlands?

Towards the beginning of the Viking age, in 810 AD, the Vikings quickly began raiding the coasts of the North Sea, focusing heavily on smaller villages and monasteries. During this time, the group came across Frisia and later made up a large part of the Netherlands.

The region of Frisia fell under Viking rule between 810 and 882 AD, though the group was eventually pushed out of the area by the 11th century. According to historians, this location was likely to appeal to Vikings, as it was a major trading hub for the Frankish empire.

Threats and raiding from Vikings increased as Frisia battled with civil wars and inheritance struggles. However, the Viking invasions appeared to slow down following 1024 AD, when the location declared its independence.

Today, scholars are still debating how exactly the Danish Vikings came to control some of the early regions of the Netherlands. However, many historical accounts point to the importance of the efforts of a Danish Viking named Rorick Hartaldsson, or Haraldsson.

Rorik’s family was part of Danish Viking Royalty, until it eventually fell into disgrace during the 800s. The family was exiled from Denmark, and travelled to the coast of Frisia, where they built their settlements.

Originally, the Haraldsson family was given refuge in Frisia by the Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious. During the 830s, a war broke out in the Frankish territory, weakening the empire, and giving Danish Vikings more freedom to raid the area.

Rorik was eventually exiled from Frisia, at which point he gathered men and returned to the region to forcefully take control of the central trading city, Dorestad. At this point, Rorik became the first known Viking Settler in Frisia, and the Netherlands.

When did Vikings leave the Netherlands?

The Vikings were forcefully removed from Frisia in 884 AD. During the 9th century, the local citizens of Frisia led a number of attacks against Viking rule across the coast, taking their land back from the Danish.

This was after the Frisians had already experienced significant damage and exploitation at the hands of the Haraldsson family.

When Rorik and Rodolf Haraldsson were eventually killed in 884, Viking rule in the location was weakened, giving the Franks an opportunity to regain their territory.

The Frankish Frisians launched their attack on the Vikings, removing them from the location for good, in an event commonly referred to as the “Norseman Slaughter”. At this time, the Vikings lost over 10,000 men.

Many Vikings went back to England and Denmark, while other famous individuals were killed on the Frisian shores. Following this meaningful moment in history, the majority of the Vikings turned their attention to other territories, like England.

This allowed the Netherlands to evolve without much input from Viking rulers and leaders.

Were the Dutch Vikings

Are the Dutch considered Vikings?

So, were the Dutch Vikings? For a time, the early settlers in the region that would become the Netherlands certainly had some Viking impact. The Dutch also have a long-lasting connection with the Scandinavian people, who were heavily influenced by the Vikings.

Frisians, the people who lived in the Netherlands before the region was officially established, shared a political, cultural, and linguistic past with Scandinavia, dating back before the Vikings even began raiding the Northern Sea Coast.

At one point, the Franks even attempted to stop the Viking raids by giving the province of Frisia to the Viking King Sigfrid.

Though the time the Vikings spent in the Netherland region may have been brief, there’s a good chance there was a significant amount of genetic mingling during this period. This may be a reason why Scandinavians and Dutch share so many traits today.

The Dutch and the Scandinavians are some of the tallest people in the world, and they’re moth more likely to have light hair and eyes than people from other locations across the globe.

Who did the Dutch descend from?

Modern-day Dutch people are relatively diverse, thanks to a number of immigration waves bringing unique people into the environment from throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

However, despite this, there are still some significant ancestral links between both the Dutch, and the Scandinavians. Both regions have a large proportion of Nordic ancestors.

The Nordic impact on the Netherlands suggests the Viking raids did have an influence on the genetic makeup and evolution of the people from Holland and the surrounding regions today. However, it’s difficult to say for certain whether most scholars would refer to the Dutch as Vikings.

We do know, however, that the Dutch people originate largely from the same culture and Nordic Bronze Age as the Norse, which links them to the Viking group.

Were the Dutch Vikings

Did Vikings speak Dutch?

Although Vikings did spend some time in the Netherlands region of Frisia, it’s unlikely they learned to speak “Dutch”, as the language is relatively new. The Dutch language comes from Low Franconian, the speech used by the Western Franks.

Alternatively, the Vikings commonly spoke Old Norse, which helped to inspire the modern languages of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

There’s a chance some Vikings may have learned Low Franconian when living in the region, of course. The Vikings are likely to have influenced some of the evolution of the Dutch language too.

All Germanic languages are connected, and had a lot in common with Old Norse.

The Netherlands and Vikings

So, were the Dutch Vikings? Overall, the majority of the Dutch people come from Frank descent. However, this isn’t to say the Vikings didn’t have an impact on the evolution of the Netherlands during their somewhat short time in Frisia.

While ruling over the location which would soon become a big part of the Netherlands, the Vikings likely mixed both their genetics and cultures with the locals. This could be part of the reason why the Dutch and Scandinavians have so much in common today.

Primarily, however, the Vikings focused their attention on other areas outside of the Netherlands, such as the UK, and Scandinavia in general.

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