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The earliest record of Netherlandish settlement in Germany is found in the Bremisches Urkundenbuch for the year 1062, when a small group of these immigrants was settled in the moors along the left bank of the Weser by the great archbishop Adalbert. The fall of Adalbert and the plundering of the bishopric by the Billunger, coupled with the anarchy of Germany for so many years during the reign of Henry IV, probably deterred further immigration for a long time.2

Things rapidly changed, however, soon after the century mark was turned. In 1106 Archbishop Frederick of Hamburg-Bremen energetically revived his predecessor's policy, and granted “certain lands which are uncultivated, swampy, and useless" to his own people to persons "who are called Hollanders," and who were apparently refugees, for the charter recites that they came to the archbishop and "earnestly begged" for leave to settle on the moors.3 The prelate, “considering that their settlement would be profitable,” granted their request. The lands were divided into rectangular blocks measuring 720 "royal" rods in length and 30 in width. The settlers were to pay one penny (denarius) annually for each hide or holding, to give every eleventh sheaf of grain, every tenth lamb, every tenth goat, every tenth goose, and a tenth of the honey and flax for tithes, besides a penny for each colt and a farthing (obolus) for each calf on St. Martin's Day. A tithe of these tithes was set aside by the archbishop for the support of the parish churches, and each priest was to have one hide of land. They agreed to pay every year two marks for every one hundred hides for the privilege of retaining their own law and holding their own courts for the settlement of all their differences in secular matters. This they asked "because they feared they would suffer from the injustice of foreign judges." But the bishop's court was to be a court of appeal. The success of the enterprise must have been soon manifest. For almost immediately afterward Bishop Udo of Hildesheim established a colony of Flemings at Eschershausen, west of the

1 Lamprecht, III, 372.

* See my article in American Journal of Theology, XX (1916), 227–28.

3 Kötzschke, Quellen, No. 1. There is an English translation in ThatcherMacNeal, Source Book for Mediaeval History, No. 298. For commentary, Meitzen, III, 264-68. Map 86 is a luminous exposition of the text.

Harz,' and Dietrich of Halberstadt undertook the settlement of the lowlands between the Bode and the Ocker rivers." Within two years after 1106 the promotion of Dutch and Flemish immigration for the redemption of swamp land became an organized effort of the clergy and lay nobles of Lower Germany. In 1108 the archbishop of Magdeburg, the bishops of Merseburg, Naumburg, Meissen, Brandenburg, and Counts Otto (of . . . .), Wicbert (of . . . . ), Ludwig (of ), "and all the greater and lesser lords of eastern Saxony" (universi orientalis Saxonie majores et minores) united in a joint circular petition to the archbishop of Cologne, the bishops of Aachen and Liège, the duke of Lower Lorraine, Robert, count of Flanders, and others, urging them to encourage the emigration of their surplus and hungry population into Lower Germany, which was represented, not unlike landpromotion schemes today, as a land flowing with milk and honey.3


We do not know what the immediate effect of this endeavor was. But by the middle of the century Flemish and Frisian immigration into North Germany was in full swing. Of the German nobles at this time Adolph of Holstein was the most active in this effort. "In 1143," says Helmold, "because the land was sparsely peopled, Count Adolph sent messengers into all the regions roundabout, even into Flanders and Holland, [the bishopric of] Utrecht, Westphalia, and Frisia, to proclaim that all who were in want of land might come with their families and receive the best of soil, a spacious country rich in crops, abounding in fish and flesh, and of exceeding good pastur."4 The marsh lands of the lowest course of the Elbe at this age."4 time were the special region of colonization, where Eutin and Süssel were settled by Dutch and Frisian pioneers.5


1 Kötzschke, Quellen, No. 2. The original charter is lost. We know the fact from the confirmation of it by Udo's successor, Bernhard. For another such colony see Schulze, 158, n. 3.

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3 The text of this remarkable document is in Kötzschke, Quellen, No. 3, where references are also given to a large amount of literature dealing with it.

4 Helmold, Chronica Slavorum, I, chap. 57.

5 Ibid. Helmold confuses "Frisians" and "Flemings." For full information regarding these settlements see Gloy, Der Gang der Germanisation in Ost-Holstein (Kiel, 1894), 17 f.; J. von Schröder and H. Biernatzki, Topographie der Herzogtümer Holstein und Lauenburg, I (Oldenburg, 1855), 6. The settlement of the Elbe marshes must, however, have been begun before 1144. For evidence see Wendt, op. cit., II, 31.

The furious racial and religious war which broke out in 1147, known as the Wendish Crusade, devastated the whole eastern frontier of Saxon Germany from Magdeburg to Holstein. The new Flemish and Frisian settlements were imperiled at the moment when many of the men had returned to their old homes in the Low Countries to bring back the residue of their possessions which they had left there. When the infuriated Wagri burst into the region with fire and sword they found less than a hundred fighting men in the blockhouses which had been erected to protect the villages, instead of four hundred. Fortunately the Wends, while they hated the Saxons for their oppression of them, did not confound the Flemish and Dutch incomers with their German enemies. The frightened villagers, who could not have resisted if they had so dared, were spared, they and their herds and crops. Alone the garrison in the blockhouse at Süssel, under the leadership of a priest named Gerlach, braved the foe. What destruction did befall the colony, not without reason, was attributed to the violence of their Holsteiner neighbors, who were jealous of the industry of the settlers and hated them as "foreigners."3

The effect of the Wendish Crusade in 1147 was to open large tracts of border land to occupation which hitherto had been still precariously held by the Slavs, and a wave of Dutch and Flemish settlers followed hard upon a great influx of Westphalian colonists into the territory east of the Elbe, along both the lower and the middle course of the river.4

The promotion of this movement was participated in by all classes of landed proprietors-dukes, margraves, counts, bishops, abbots. The greatest of these were Albrecht the Bear of Brandenburg and Archbishop Wichmann of Magdeburg. The amount

1 Helmold, chap. 63, to the end.

2 Ibid., chap. 64.

The Holsteiners called these lowlander incomers "Rustri" (ibid., 158 and n. 1). This appears from a survey made by Bishop Anselm of Havelberg in 1150, after the Wendish Crusade was over, and is contained in the new Fundations privileg of Conrad III: ". . . . et cum praenominatae civitates et villae saepe irruentibus paganis vastatae sunt ac depopulatae adeo, ut vel nullo vel raro habitatore incolantur, volumus atque praecipimus, ut idem episcopus liberam absque contradictione habeat facultatem ibidem ponendi et locandi colonos de quacunque gente voluerit vel habere potuerit."-Riedel, Codex Diplom. Brand., II, 438.


of lowlander blood infused with German in the middle of the twelfth century in the basin of the Havel River must have been considerable. These tenacious lowlanders eagerly attacked the sodden soil. Thousands of acres of swamp land in course of time were redeemed by them. For example, documents of the year 1148 describe the region around Brettenburg on the river Stör as a huge morass. In the year 1340 the Dutch communities of Cronenmoor and Lütteringe are described as prosperous farming localities." That the main body of settlers in this part of Holstein was of Dutch origin Meitzen has shown from the fact that Christian I of Denmark in 1470 issued a decree canceling the jurisdiction of Dutch law in the Kremper and Wilster marshlands and substituting Danish law instead.3

No lord of North Germany was more active in promoting the colonization and settlement of these Dutch and Flemish immigrants than Albrecht the Bear of Brandenburg. In this policy he was ably assisted by the bishops, especially Wichmann of Magdeburg. Except possibly Rainald of Dassel, Frederick Barbarossa's heroic archbishop of Cologne, and the versatile Christian of Mainz, who was for so long his viceroy in Italy, twelfth-century Germany had no abler prelate than Wichmann. On the paternal side he was descended from the Billunger dukes of Saxony, on his mother's from the margraves of Lausitz and Meissen.4 After having completed his theological studies at Paris, Wichmann was successively prior of the chapter of Halberstadt, bishop of Naumburg (1148), and in the first year of Frederick I's reign was made archbishop of Magdeburg by him. He was a faithful adherent of the emperor through all the long conflict with Alexander III and one of the chief negotiators of the peace of Constance in 1183. He was an implacable adversary of Henry the Lion and a principal in the catastrophe which overcame the mighty Saxon duke in 1181. In that year, with the aid of the bishop of Halberstadt, he laid siege to Haldensleben. But the count of Lippe, who defended the place, diverted 1 Kötzschke, Staat und Kultur im Zeitalter der ostdeutschen Kolonisation (Leipzig, 1910), 30-34.

2 Meitzen, III, 354.

3 Heinemann, 222.

♦ Fechner, Leben des Erzbischofs Wichmann von Magdeburg, Forschungen zur deutschen Gesch., V, 417-562.

the course of the Ohre River. Nothing daunted, Wichmann threw up dikes around the town so that the water overflowed the walls and drove the inhabitants to seek refuge in church towers and granaries. Wichmann then built a fleet of boats and with this little navy triumphantly sailed over the walls of Haldensleben and so captured it.'

Although Albrecht had received titular investiture of the margraviate of Brandenburg in 1134(?), the Slav element in the Mark was not wholly subdued until 1157,2 an achievement materially aided by Wichmann. Already in the last year of his episcopacy at Naumburg, Wichmann had imported a colony of Flemings and settled them at Schul-Pforta, where they long retained their own laws and gave their name-Flemmingen or Flaminghe-to the locality. Six years after his transference to Magdeburg, when Albrecht's domination had been made complete in Brandenburg, Wichmann began the active importation of Flemish and Dutch settlers into the unoccupied marsh lands of the Havel. Wichmann was not the original pioneer in thus settling these colonies along the upper Elbe, for already in 1154 Bishop Gerung of Meissen had established a group of them at Kühren near Wurzen. But Wichmann was the greatest promoter of these enterprises, more so even than Albrecht the Bear himself.5

The details of the history of the settlement of these Dutch and Flemish colonies by Albrecht and Wichmann may be traced in the Urkunden. But Helmold's Chronica Slavorum has one chapter

1 Chron. Montis Sereni, anno 1182, in Mencken, SS. rerum germanicarum, praecipue saxonicarum, Vol. II; Raumer, Reg., No. 1558.

'This information is contained in the fragments of the Old Chronicle of Brandenburg, to be found in Heinemann, 422; cf. Lavisse, La Marche de Brandenbourg sous la dynastie Ascanienne, 71–72.

Kötzschke, Quellen, No. 9; Wendt, II, 35. For a complete study see Rudolph, Die niederländerischen Kolonien der Altmark im 12. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1889.

4 Kötzschke, Quellen, No. 10; Vogel, vii; Schulze, 159.

5 Kötzschke, Nos. 14, 15, 16, 18; Wendt, II, 30 f.; Heinemann, Urkunden, Nos. 38-41; Rudolph, op. cit. Hollanders were established at Krakau near Magdeburg, and at Kleutsch near Dessau; Flemings around Naundorf and Pechau near Magdeburg; Westphalians at Poppendorf, across the Elbe, opposite Magdeburg, in pratis et paludibus.

❝I, chap. lxxxviii.

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