Launching the Dorestad Raid in the Netherlands

            Raids have in recent years multiplied in Europe like rabbits. Inventor of these sail and oar rallies, Frenchman Charles-Henry le Moing, has organised raids from Portugal to Scotland. This is remarkable, since the French were mostly at the receiving end of raids by the original raiders from AD 793, the vikings. A major exception in this raid-trend was the one non-Scandinavian country whose Frisian natives often went out-raiding with the Danes: the Netherlands. This deplorable omission will be corrected soon, however: from September 14th to 18th a fleet of raiders is expected to roam the beautiful Dutch river IJsel and bear down upon the (until then) tranquil place of Ossenzijl, in the soggy and boggy Weerribben nature reserve, in the north of the country. In these waters the ‘punter’ evolved: the native Dutch raiding type par excellence and ancestor to the mediaeval cog.

            The Dutch have reputedly created their country themselves. As a result, Dutch waters and landscapes are often counted as cultural, rather than natural, heritage. Add to this ancient towns and ports on the river IJsel and beyond, often dating from mediaeval times when the Hansa league was still alive and kicking. Raiding these waters will be equally rewarding as a cultural and a sportsmanslike event. The raid will be especially suitable for craft that can be sailed and rowed, such as oselvars, drascombes, river skiffs, gigs, cobles and other viking derivates.

            Participants will gather on Wednesday afternoon, September 14th, near Deventer, from where the fleet will start on Thursday morning 15th. Sleeping accommodation will be arranged on a river barge, which accompanies the fleet. The river IJsel is regularly used by commercial barges, and skippers must be aware of river navigation and relevant regulations. While all participating craft will primarily be rigged for sailing, sufficient speed must be made under oars, to avoid collision with motor vessels when the wind fails. Although sailing in a fleet, each skipper remains responsible for the decision whether or not to sail and how.

            The young Stichting Natuurlijk Varen (foundation ‘natural sailing’) promotes yachting by natural means such sail, oar, sweep and punt, to save the environment and stimulate a healthy lifestyle among yachties. The Dorestad Raid derives its name from the frequent visits by viking traders to the early mediaeval port (wyck) at Dorestad (today’s Wijk bij Duurstede). When in the early 9th century the Frisians had been christened, forcibly, by Carolingian conquerors, the vikings returned as raiders. They did so with such ferocity that Dorestad’s fame in Dutch national history mainly derives from its being pillaged by the Danes. Hence its suitability for a Raid’s name.

            Further information from the address stated below or by e-mail from:

Arend Lambrechtsen, Email;

Bart-Jan Bats, Email

Wouter van Heeren, Email;

Antoine Maartens, Email;

Hans Vandersmissen, Email

Info: Arend Lambrechtsen, Hegewier 19, 8628 EM Goënga, Netherlands
Phone: +31(0)515-411244