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The province of Gelderland

1 Apeldoorn
The land that the village inhabitants used to have in common possession here was originally called Urthunsula, which points to a holy pillar.

2 Arnhem
The Hemelse Berg (Heavenly hill) may possibly refer to Heimdal. There is also a Paasberg (Easter-hill) in Arnhem.

3 Dieren
The Donderberg (Thunder-hill) is dedicated to Donar.

4 Ede
In Ede is a Paasberg (Easter-hill).

5 Elst
The name Elst is derived from Heliste, which means sanctuary. The name is connected to Hel. On the place where now the grote kerk (big church) is located, stood once a temple dedicated to Donar.

6 Ermelo
The name Ermelo is derived from Irmin (Enormous), a nickname of (among others) Tiwaz. In Ermelo is a Paasberg (Easter-hill). The Ullerberg is dedicated to Oller.

7 Gorssel
In Gorssel a Zonneberg (Sun-hill) is located.

8 Hattem
In Hattem is a Godsberg (Gods-hill), which is dedicated to Wodan.

9 Hoekelum
South of Hoekelum stood a temple and an offering place.

10 Kootwijk
In Kootwijk is the Heidens(e)berg (Heathen-hill). though this name can also refer to gipsies.

11 Lochem
In Lochem is a Paasberg (Easter-hill).

12 Lunteren
In Lunteren is a Paasberg (Easter-hill).

13 Nijmegen
The name Nijmegen can besides "Novio Magus" (=new market) also be derived from Novio Magusanus. Magusanus was the Roman name of Donar. Nijmegen was at least the heart of the cult of the Batavian main god Donar. In Nijmegen stood two temples which were dedicated to him. The Rijksbos is a holy forest. There is also a Hunerberg (Giants-hill) in Nijmegen.

14 Nunspeet
The Hemelse Berg (Heavenly hill) can be dedicated to Heimdal, there used to be an offering place there.

15 Oosterbeek
In Oosterbeek is a Zonneberg (Sun-hill) and a Tafelberg (Table-hill). The Hemelse Berg (Heavenly hill) is possibly dedicated to Heimdal. Gravehills can also be found there. Under the oude kerk (old church) is a heathen well.

16 Rheden
The forest Essop is a holy forest. In this forest are the Afgodsberg (False-god-hill) and an offeringhill, both are dedicated to Wodan. The Helsberg (Hel's-hill) is dedicated to Hel.

17 Roekel
The Heilige Berg (Holy Hill) was a heathen sanctuary.

18 Rozendaal
The Kapellenberg (Chapels-hill) is a Tafelberg (table-hill).

19 Ruurlo
The Godsberg (Gods-hill) is dedicated to Wodan.

20 Terborg
In Terborg is a Paasberg (Easter-hill).

21 Ubbergen
On the Hengstberg (Stallion-hill) a stone altar has been found, it beared the inscription Mercurius Friausius (or Eriasus). Mercurius (Mercury) is the Roman name of Wodan, Friausius may possibly refer to his wife Frigg.

22 Uddel
According to a legend the Uddelermeer (Uddel-lake) was created by Donar.

23 Velp
South of Velp is a Tafelberg (Table-hill).

24 Vorden
The Zunnebelt is a Sun-hill.

25 Wageningen
In Wageningen is a Zonneberg (Sun-hill).

26 Winterswijk
The Illebarg is a heathen Holy Hill. There are also Hunenbulten (Giants-hills).

27 Wisch
In Wisch is a Paasberg (Easter-hill).

28 Woezik
The name Woezik is derived from Wodans oak.

29 Wolfheze
In Wolfheze are a couple of Wodans-oaks.

The "Veluwsche sagen":


In his book "Veluwsche sagen" (Arnhem: Gysbers and van Loon) Gustaaf van de Wall Perné (1877-1911) collected some very interesting stories.
His interests for this goes back to his childhood…

"Born in the heart of the Veluwe, I heard lots of wonderful stories there as a child, which left a deep impression on me."

…and continued in his further life:

"Our land, especially in the eastern part with its vast forests and immense moorfields, is still full of old folkpoetry; but she is asleep.
Let us hope, not for eternally."

In his attempt to wake her he decided to write down the sagas of the "Vale Ouwe" (=Veluwe), and consulted folkalmanacs from the province of Gelderland, books about history and folklore, and after that the oldest inhabitants of the Veluwe.
The results were good, within a year the first print of his book was sold out.

In the first saga, titled "De groote en de kleine hul", (which is old-Dutch for "the big and the small hill") van de Wall Perné describes the creation of the hills in Elspeet en Uddel.

After Donar ("Thunar") smashed the oven of the giant of Uddel with a blow of his hammer, the giant went to his neighbour (the other giant) in Elspeet who lived on the Hardenberg to ask if he could bake his bread in his oven.
The giant of Elspeet approved, and said that he should bring his bread the next morning, because then he was going to bake himself too.
After they had collectively made fun of Donar, the giant of Uddel went to get firewood in exchange for the help, and they both ate the evening meal at the home of the giant of Elspeet.

"After the meal, while the wife was cleaning the cooking pot with an oakbush, the giants stayed together to talk and they drank lots of times on the succes of the baking. (of the bread)
This is how they drank more mead then was necessery for the success of the baking and their good night sleep."

The giant of Uddel went home, and snored so hard that it could be heard "seven miles around".
When he woke up, he noticed to his fright that he had overslept himself.
He threw his wife out of the box bed and said that she quickly had to mould the bread.
After that he sprinted with the bread right through the moor to Elspeet.
While doing that his clogs (wooden shoes) became full of sand, which forced him to stop halfway to empty them.
The sand from the clogs is still laying there today: the Grote- en de Kleine Hul. (Big- and Small Hill)
The giant just arrived in time in Elspeet.

The second saga, "The creation of the Uddeler- and Bleeke lake", is described in spring in splendid metafores as the battle of Donar with giants and the Midgaardsnake.
When Donar resists the wintergiants fiercely, they decide to commit to an alliance with the Midgaardsnake.
Together they fight the god of thunder: the giants throw with hail, the snake climbs into the highest oak tree and blows her poison into the sky.
When Donar goes into attack and rides through the air with his billy-goat wagon, the whole sky is ablaze and the rumbling of his hammer makes the earth tremble.

"Then Thunar lifted the never missing thunderhammer and smashed it with lightening speed down upon the wide opened snakehead, with such a force, that the giant monster was totally crushed and sank down and the hammer penetrated the trembling earth seven miles deep."

The Midgaardsnake was vanquished, but Donar had also signed his own fate with his ligthningfire.
The poison of the snake began to scorch through and stunned the thundergod.
With a heavy bang he crashed down.
His steerless goats crashed down with wagon and all on the Donderberg ("Thunderhill") in Dieren.
After this the earth sank into the sea, the seagod blowed his horn and a big dark ship came to collect the body of Donar.

The Uddelermeer in the Netherlands is one of the deepest lakes in the world After the earth became dry again two lakes remained which were as deep as the world: the Uddelermeer or "Lake of Uddel" (Uttiloch), and the Godenmeer (Godslake), also known asWitte- or Bleeke meer.(white- or pale lake)
According to van de Wall Perné Donar was worshipped at the Godenmeer (Godslake), although it is possible that the "G" replaced the "W", something that often occured under Christian influence.
This would mean that the lake was dedicated to Wodan.

"…when Thunars hammer, which rose up out of its own from the depths, was found at the Uddelermeer, a holy offering place was founded there by the people who burned the woodpiles for the dead there."

The Uddelermeer, the grave of the Midgaardsnake, was threatened in its existence by the rank growing forest.
In 1222 the following happened: "A bright flame came out of the pool and all of the firedemons squeezed out (…)
High from the air roaring flames leaked, from the smothering smoke the ghost of the giant snake squeezed himself wriggling up and fled forth with the speed of an arrow."

The forest was burned down and what remained is the moor, where the lakes can still be found nowadays.

In contrast with the Christianized version of the story, in which is claimed that in the Bleeke meer a golden calf was sunk, this was in reality Donar.

The third saga is named "A little fairy tale of Pomphul".
This story is about a romance between Froh (Freyr) and the doughter of Hymer, Gerda, in the valley of the Spreng (a spreng is a very small waterflow) near Pomphul.
It is still said that the well of Pomphul was probably created by Wodan.

The story is so cloyingly sweet, that the undersigned sees himself forced to leave it further out of consideration.

The fourth piece, "the Witte juffer (old-Dutch for white woman) of Hoog Soeren", is a collection of stories about an ancient, hollow tree.
The name, Jufferboom or Spinboom, (Ladytree of Spinningtree) comes from the Witte Juffer (also known as "wit wief") who was spinning in the tree.
This story reminds a lot of the Nornes, who were spinning the threads of destiny under the world tree.
Van de Wall Perné also mentions a well, in which is spoken about an Urthensula (column of Urth) on the Veluwe.

With exception of the sixt, the rest of the sagas don't contain any explicit references to heathen subjects, which doesn't mean that these aren't also of exceptional beauty.
The sixt saga describes a phenomenon that may be considered truly heathen: the Wild Hunt.
This procession of the dead marches, under the leadership of Wodan, in an extatic frenzy through the autumnnightly sky.
As a closing of the piece, a passage that describes the Wilde Jacht (Wild Hunt) on the Veluwe, which is often the scene of it.

"Suddenly we heard a terrible roaring outside.
The wind blew howling and moaning through the trees.
The gray man became silent, while his old voice was dominated by the sounds outside.
The shining of a little fire lighted up his old weathered face and his white hair.
In his faithful eyes shined a soft glow.
All three of us listened to the voices of the storm.

The first thunderblow hammered over the others.
"That is the Wild Hunt," murmured the old one.
Suddenly the weak glow of the little woodfire was overwhelmed by a heavy light and an odd sigh of the air went around us.
It was followed by a crashing thunderblow.
The small cabin shook.
Something fell heavily on the creaking roof and in the fire, which was suddenly extinguished, which caused ashes and sparks to fly around us.
Terrified with fear we sat speechless in the dark.
I will never forget what we then heard; it will stay with me as a fearful dream full of terror.
We heard branches being ripped off with a cracking sound and the ground beneath us trembled.
How long we sat there like that, I don't know; it looked like an eternity.
When things were calmed down and we silently went outside, we saw a centuries old oak close to the cabin that was hit by lighting.
A heavy branch had been torn down and layed half over the cabin.
The Wild Hunter (Wodan) was gone, but everywhere in the forest he left his traces.
When the gray one and his son brought me to the road, stood high above us the silent, giant dome of the night, in which soft the holy stars glowed."

"Veluwsche sagen" is a terrific work, and very well worth buying for everyone who has a weak spot for the heathen history of the "Vale Ouwe".


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