Short compression of the study

This is a translation


Main points about the displacement of the history of the Netherlands from 250 till 1050

1. Charlemagne has no links with Nijmegen, many in Noyon 
2. The Netherlands (and part of Belgium) where under water (Dunkerk Transgressions) 
3. Interpretation of maps: North-West orientation misunderstood 
4. No Carolingian artefacts have been found in The Netherlands
5. The Vikings never occupied quarters in Nijmegen 
6. Willibrord and Bonifatius never evangelised in The Netherlands

Albert Delahaye presented a set of hypotheses that were contrary to long-held ideas about the history of Nijmegen and that of the Low Countries in general.
Regarding Nijmegen, Albert Delahaye questioned the received wisdom that Charlemagne had build a palace there. This is a blatant heresy in the eyes of official Nijmegen, bearing such epithets as “Keizerstad” or “Emperor’s town”.

According to received tradition , Charlemagne maintained a palace in Nijmegen.
This palace was supposed to have been situated on the Valkhof hill, the highest point in modern Nijmegen, where visitors are shown its alleged ruins. Charlemagne, the emperor, again according to standard accepted history, would have sojourned at this palace on his travels through his empire.

The location of Nijmegen would have been an important symbol in support of Charlemagne and the myths that followed him, as it had been a border town at the northern frontier of the Roman Empire with a market and a garrison. 

A part of the story of the palace was that Vikings came and took it for the winter in the year 880. It’s not true, said Delahaye. The palace was not there. There’s no trace of it. (Those ruins are from two different periods, a few centuries later.)

Post Scriptum.

With thanks to Steve Edwards for some parts of the text in English wich he has clearly written. With his permission we used some parts in this website. See also Steve’s personal website: Website of Steve 

Also many thanks to Dick Gagel (Aberdeen, Scotland) for the revisions of the text.

Delahaye developed a broader theory for the development of the Low Countries, mainly that the Netherlands could hardly have been populated in any important way between AD 250 and 1050, as it was flooded due to a heightened sea level.
He cites contemporaneous tide levels at Dunkirk, and he maintains that most of the present-day Netherlands, especially the Western part, would have been uninhabitable.

Delahaye’s hypotheses have their adherents, though its detractors are more numerous, especially among “establishment” historians. The supporters naturally tend to believe that the detractors have a too great vested interest in the standard view to even consider the importance of Delahaye’s ideas. He also argued that, after the Romans left and for some considerable time afterwards, their fortress at Nijmegen was mostly unoccupied, because the area directly surrounding the hill was underwater. There are no grounds to accord Nijmegen
the distinction of being a 2000 year old town.

It would be understandable that a theory against the existence of Charlemagne’s palace would be unpopular. But, also, the theory is a bit hard to swallow — that all of scholarship is misinterpreting the cardinal directionality of the whole body of historical literature.

One of Delahaye’s other views runs along these lines:

Classical historical sources utilised a geography where the base orientation is the West, rather than the North used by us. Thus, when a Germanic or Latinate writer of that time speaks of “North”, he means West.

In the Middle Ages maps were even more differently oriented. (In this case to the south). A map by Sebasian Münster dated 1489 gives an idea about the orientation of maps in those days.

Italy is here at the top of the map with Denmark and England at the bottom.
A close look at the map will reveal that most of the Netherlands is inundated by the sea.

Even as late as the early 17th Century, maps of the Netherlands show the country lying on its back, so to speak, where the Western coast is at the top. (Comitatus Hollandia. T Graefschap Hollandt, by Willem Janzszoon, 5.
Augu. 1608)

It will be appreciated that a theory challenging the existence of Charlemagne’s palace would be unpopular. However, the latter hypothesis is even harder to swallow, that all of present day scholarship is misinterpreting the cardinal directionality of the whole body of classical historical literature.  One of the consequenses of the North-West orientation is the placement of the latin city “Noviomagus”. Delahaye believed that by “Noviomagus” etc, classical writers meant Noyon, a city on a river in northwestern France. All the place-names there, according to Delahaye, correspond much more closely to the source texts than do those in the area of Nijmegen.

Here is where Delahaye becomes interesting: he argued that archaeology has not found a single Carolingian artifact in Nijmegen; let alone the remains of a fortified palace. This point was especially reinforced when after the destruction of most of the inner city of Nijmegen in WWII new archaeological discoveries were made. Delahaye makes a point here that is irrefutable. Nijmegen museums, resplendent with Roman artifacts, do not have a single Carolingian artifact on display. There is no question that the Romans did have a garrison here. Charlemagne according to tradition only visited and kept a palace here
— in some sense as a thematic connection with the “first” Roman empire to which he considered himself heir. 
So, as Delahaye said, not a shred of evidence. Nothing of the Carolingians.

The offical story till 1950 runs like this.

The Vikings occupied the Valkhof in Nijmegen in 880, and used it as winter-quarters.
Or so goes the standard narrative. In at least one source it is recorded that they repeated this the following year, but there seems to be nowhere any greater detail about the matter. But the story is not true at all, said Delahaye. There just was no palace. There’s no trace of it, as the present ruins belong to two different periods, a few centuries older. The Valkhof (1080) and the ruins of Barbarossa. (1150).

The problem with the Viking story (that they overwintered at the palace) is the problem with the palace. There’s no archeological evidence of it. The rebuilding after the bombing of Nijmegen in WWII naturally involved extensive archaeological work. Carolingian artefacts remained lacking.

Steve Edwards: “I’ve been to the Museum Valkhof twice — the museum that stands next to Valkhof hill, the traditional location of the Keizer’s palace. I didn’t see anything Carolingian.”

The Roman occupation was of briefer duration than the supposed presence of the Carolingians. And yet, to compare with the overflow of Roman artifacts, we have from the Carolingians.and Vikings…….. nothing.

It seems likely that the story about Vikings wintering in Nijmegen is untrue

In Nijmegen Albert Delahaye started his study about Charlemagne and the “Valkhof”. In that period (1946-1950) he considered only Charlemagne and he did at that time not know that most of the history of The Netherland from 250 till 1050 was displaced.

Progressing from his initial findings, Delahaye found each following year more evidence about historical displacements affecting the history of the Netherlands. A number of key facts from its history are plainly wrong. What happened according to him was this: when the sea level had sufficiently fallen, the people living in Northern France and Belgium started to migrate to the North and, and having settled first in the south of the present Netherlands, continued later further North and NorthWestwards. The places where they settled and the rivers they encountered were named after the locales and streams where they had lived before. 

After the displacement of the names followed the displacement of the facts and stories that originated in the ?old?country. These facts and stories were transposed in the Middle Ages to “Holland” by historical chroniclers, commissioned by important persons, e.g. a ruler. Writer and artist were paid to produce a good looking manuscript, where facts were mixed with heroic tales, as the aim was to aggrandise the ruler.

A good example is the double displacements of St. Willibrord and St. Bonifatius who were claimed in the 13th century by Dutch historian Melis Stoke as apostles to the Netherlands and localised respectively in Utrecht and Dokkum (Friesland) Again, historically impossible as both places did not exist at the time these clerics lived.
.Facts: St Willibrord, bishop of Trajectum, present day Tournehem, in 695.

Founder of abbey at Aefternacum,  (Eperiecques). Then follows the myth of Echternacht which  combines the bishoprics of Tournehem and Utrecht.

Bonifatius was murdered near the river Burdina, present Bourre. The placename Dokkum is erroneously derived from Dockynchirica ? Dunkirk. 

What do the French say about these saints? They consider them of an entirely local character and statues of St. Willibrord and St. Bonifatius are often seen in local churches in the region of Northern France, their main mission field.