HOLLAND  -  ZEBULUN  of  Israel



Verse 49:13 in Genesis is one of the keys for finding similarities between Zebulun and Holland. There is first of all the name Zebulun which as we have seen means dwelling, and the Dutch as refined dwellers.

Where is that blessed spot in which they will dwell? It is at the haven, or at the seashore. The old Dutch translation (Pieter Keur) even reads:

"Zebulun shall have his dwellings at the seashore, shall be a haven for a fishing fleet and at his flank he shall catch fish'' What is actually said here? Zebulun's territory will not be like that of Joseph in everlasting hills. He will not dwell in ships, as is the future of Dan. No, it must needs be a calm seashore with natural harbors and shelter for a fishing fleet. The dwellings will be along the waterside and at natural havens. They will be blessed there with shoals of fish. Fishery will be their peaceful occupation.

There seems to be a strange paradox in the Bible, because nowhere and never did Zebulun live at the seashore during the period before their dispersion from Palestine. The sand-dune shore (now near Acco) was promised to them, but they never occupied it. Was it however fulfilled outside Palestine?


Here I have to insert a little note to make sure that you understand what happened in the 7th century B.C. The ten tribes were banished from Israel through Assyrian deportations, and after Assyria itself was defeated, they started a slow mass migration through central Europe and by way of the Mediterranean Sea Towards the north-west. The tribe of Zebulun must have been part of this westward movement. There is a growing literature pointing out archeologically and through circumstantial evidence, that the highly skilled and cultured peoples (goldsmiths, jewellers) suddenly emerging under names like Scythians, Celts, Cymru and others, are these lost and wandering ten tribes from Israel, (map p.82 )

Our search for parallels between Holland and Zebulun is based on this "vision."

Into the Lowlands they migrated under such names as Frisians (in the north), Kennemers (Kimren) on the north-west coast, the  Batavi along the Rhine, The Katten (Chatti) on the coastal islands, the Kelts and Menapii with the Suevi in the southwest islands, the Saxons in the east of the Lowlands, just to mention a few names.


When you have a good look at the map of Western Europe, you see that the Lowlands consist of the greatest delta of Europe formed by the end mouths of three main European rivers, the Rhine from Switzerland through Germany, the Meuse and the Scheldt from France through Belgium. The term Lowlands—used in Roman times—really means all flat land, including Belgian Flanders, which does not imply same as often flooded land. It is not right to suppose that the Netherlands were under water in Roman times. The contrary seems to be true according to recent archeological findings. The great rivers have a calm course into the sea and never rise to such an extent as in subtropical areas.

The catastrophic floods which altered the surface of the lowlands always come from the sea breaking through the natural sand-dune-wall, as has happened in the 5th, the 11th and 14th centuries and as recent as 1953, which gave rise to the so-called Delta-project. Apart from these incidents, it always seems to have been safe to dwell there. At least it has often been an overpopulated area, even in Roman times according to their writers. The Lowlands was a gathering place for the "barbaric" tribes, some of whose names I mentioned above, which list is far from complete.

Searching for a natural seashore and natural harbors or haven, nobody can deny, that in the western world, a more natural and safer delta does not exist. Thousands of ships can take refuge, when floating down the rivers or approaching from the sea.

There is not a single rock formation in the Netherlands, and there is hardly any danger due to the almost stagnant waters and the small differences in tides. Moreover the Dutch-Flandrian coast is the longest range of natural dunes without rocks in the world, 170 miles, of which the Netherlands form two thirds, while the remainder are man made dykes. Nowhere can one find a more natural parallel with Jacob's blessing to Zebulun!

Don't forget the climate either. Holland is blessed with mild winters, it shares the benefit of the Gulf stream, so that fishing and shipping are seldom hindered. Moreover—unless man himself poisons them—there is not a single poisonous. fish to be found in the waters of the Netherlands both salt and fresh. Every fish may be eaten, apart of course from the unclean fishes forbidden by Israelitish food-laws, a cosmic law, frightfully trespassed against by the average Dutchman, fond of eels, shrimps and oysters, who will only learn the hard way nowadays by contracting peculiar diseases through poisoned shrimps and the other unclean fishes which are at present primarily infected by polluted water. Who invites sickness to his house? You remember the meaning of Baal-Zebul?

Although the geography of the Netherlands is such that every part is now inhabited, thanks to impoldering, geologically speaking the coast is rapidly sinking and losing against the sea since the beginning of this century. Every decade the sand beaches are becoming narrower, and the dunes are "retreating inland." There have been periods that it was the reverse. The rise of the sea in our times is sometimes thought to be alarming, and here we have the strange paradox that living at this seashore as a blessing can also be turned into a curse. Pessimists foretell us that the whole of Holland will be under water, and the queer prophet Nicolaas Kroese saw even the entire capital of Amsterdam inundated because the people were living as in the days of Noah. (He himself died of eating too much). Anyhow it is a fact, that the greater part of Holland nowadays lies below sea level, which is unique in itself, realising that on this very spot protected by narrow rows of dunes and man made dykes there lives the densest population on earth, being 13 million inhabitants within an area of 12,600 square miles, 110 miles in length from north to south and 110 miles from east to west! Zebulun is the smallest among his brothers, but his quality is not too bad.

It is not often realized that the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt were the natural causeways by which the Israel tribes migrated westward, where on the natural sand and clay delta (one has to dig 120 feet and more and still find no rock) they found refuge and natural harbors to rest before crossing the sea.

Therefore the Lowlands have always been a transit haven, and a melting pot of peoples who came to rest from their wanderings.

Still, it has always kept its own characteristic face, which is a remarkable thing to remember when reflecting on our strange parallel.


Zebulun would live at the seashore. Since pre-historic times the Lowlanders have been inventive and skilled in building. Unlike other regions the Dutch don't possess a single local stone! All then - houses had to be built from clay, which they, like the Israelites of old in Egypt, baked (they must have had their own factories as innumerable 'Roman' tiles have been found in the Scheldt area), or, as ancient farms still show, they built from wattle and daub, a skill which eventually they must have brought under the names of "Belgium" tribes into Somerest in Britain! The Lowlanders could never dwell in caves, because these did not exist.

Their dwellings are of brick and wood nowadays still, apart from modern concrete skyscrapers. These last things, which are ugly in the flat land with far horizons ask for special engineering skill, because they tend to sink into the muddy soil.


To be a piler ("heier") is a very ancent skilled job in Holland, and now it is a well known Dutch surname "den Heier." All the foundations of most Dutch houses are piles piled deep into the ground. From prehistoric times the Lowlanders have been very advanced in building houses on piles along quays and roads built on wattle and piles. Dutch engineers were often asked for advice and actually built castles and estates in watery areas, as on Fuenen in Denmark (Egeskov) or in England at the Thames, Yarmouth, Cambridge Fens.

The reason for mentioning this is to show that Dutch always have been renowned for building dwellings (Zebulun) in watery areas and alongside haven, ditches, quays and seashore, (blessing given to Zebulun is to dwell at the seashore and natural harbors )


"Zebulun shall be a haven of ship." The Hebrew word for ship is aniah. It means ship, but also fleet, conveyance, galley, navy. Moreover it means the I.

Strangely enough this word appears here for the first time in the Bible! Were there no ships before Zebulun was born? Of course there were. However especially Zebulun seems to be blessed with the knowledge of ships in haven. As tradition calls him the first ship builder with sails, there is no doubt that the blessing extends to shipbuilding in harbors.


According to ancient Hebrew tradition the banner of Zebulun is always a ship. The symbols of other tribes are sometimes mixed up, but the one of Zebulun has never been changed. The pictures always show a typical fishing-boat with a sail. Not a rowing-boat or a galley. They may be inspired by fishing boats in the Mediterranean, but the strange thing is that there they look unmistakably like the "pleyte" the fishing boat used in the middle ages and (before) in the Scheldt-area. (Flanders and Zealand) They also look like the old fashioned "boms" used as fishing boats at the South-Holland seashore. They are specially used for sandy, muddy shores and they can easily be pulled ashore.

One would wish the national heraldic symbol of the Netherlands were a ship. Not so! It is a lion, and nine out of eleven Dutch provinces have the lion displayed in their coat of arms. One would say this has nothing to do with Zebulun. But wait! Zebulun marched with Issaschar under the banner of Judah, as part of the four squared nation of Israel (Numbers 2: 7), and Judah's banner is the lion! There is no mean parallel here!

Relatively few Dutch towns have a ship in their crest, although in the middle ages the capital Amsterdam had the symbol of a kof-ship in its seal which is almost identical with the Hebrew drawings of Zebulun's banner.

The Dutch people however made the ship with sails their national folk-symbol. They made it the symbol of their national culture. Look at the ancient Delft blue tiles. The ship is predominant on it. Look at Dutch paintings, Dutch embroidery with decorated ships, Dutch silversmiths who engraved and modelled ships, the museums full of ship's models, the ship-weather vanes on towers, ships in churches. This Dutch folk-art has to the same extent only been rivalled by Denmark! What about Dan? His blessing was "abiding in ships." So no wonder they displayed ships in their folk-art. Dan abiding in ships, Zebulun making ships and dwelling at a haven ships, no doubt they were closely connected in Biblical times. Unmistakably Holland and Denmark also share the same cultural heritage. But Dan's banner being a serpent or adder, the Danish viking ships are a strange parallel to that symbol. The Netherlands are typified by other kinds of ships. Just a few more examples of exclusive Dutch ship's models:

The very speedy flute or "flyboat" (fluit) was invented by the Dutch in the 16th century and this is the historical reason why they became masters of the sea in the 16th century. (Only surpassed by the English in the 17th)

Another Dutch invention was the tow boat (trekschuit), being some sort of mailcoach on water, drawn by horses alongside the canals. The larger towns in Holland's flat land had a most efficient regular service in the old days and their timetables could compete with those of modern bus-services frustrated by traffic-jams.

The third Dutch invention was the herringtube (haringbuis) with fishing facilities at both "flanks,'' or sides which as we shall see is very Dutch and of Zebulun too. It is the reason why we Dutch as fishermen are still masters of the Herringpond!

And what about the "Flying Dutchman?" Of course you now know it as the symbol of an airline company, but do you realize that the name is taken from the Dutch ghost-ship sailing the seven seas since the 16th century that until recently still scared seamen around the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) and off the Yorkshire coast? Why is this phantom always called the flying Dutchman by sailors and artists all over the world?

Believe it or not as a joke, but our strange parallel between the symbol of a ship for Zebulun and for Holland even has its repercussions in the realms of phantoms and ghosts!!

A ghostly ship, with a ghostly crew, In tempests she appears; And before the gale, or against the gale, She sails without a rag of sail, Without a helmsman steers.  Longfellow.

HOLLAND'S SHIP OF STATE [as shown in 1579]

The Arms of the Seven provinces are on the side of the ship, which has the Bible on its prow. The -words (by William the Taciturn) in the circle are: 'Quiet in the midst of the roaring wares'. Poem at the bottom:

'In all pressure and mourning 

Offer each other the hand. 

Be faithful in everything 

God's Church and the Fatherland'


The twelve stones for the twelve tribes of Israel in their right sequence are still a debated subject, due to differences of the original Hebrew text of Exodus 39: 10-14. However for Zebulun there are no great differences: In the Jewish Encyclopedia, which is based on ancient Jewish tradition, the diamond is mentioned as the symbol for Zebulun. I see a parallel here, which might be elaborated when knowing more about gems.

South Africa, the former Dutch settlement, seen as an offshoot from Zebulun, is the land of diamond mining. Almost like a symbol the largest rough diamond has been discovered in South Africa: the Cullinan in Transvaal in 1905. This one was sent to Amsterdam to be cut and is now part of the crown jewels of England. (Encyclopedia Britannica, nr. 7, page 317, 1960 edition)

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has since ages been famous for its diamond-cutting industry, its cleaving, dividing and setting. This hand process in which generations of mainly Jewish diamond workers of Amsterdam have excelled is still the best. A symbol of Zebulun? Sometimes the pearl has been given as a symbol of Zebulun. This brings me to an even more hidden symbolic parallel.


In Zealand, in the estuary of the Scheldt are the famous oyster-pits, whose oysters have been traded all over Western Europe. On their original natural finding-spots a large industry has flouished until it was decided that the Deltaworks would close the sea-arms. As oysters need fresh tidal waters, the industry is apparently a dying one. Oysters in Zealand are not cultivated for their pearls, because here these are of no value. However the fact that they exist in North-Western Europe is an exceptional one, apart from river pearls found in Scotland. Is it a bit far fetched to bring this in connection with Zebulun?

However there is still another level of symbolic interpretation, which I only mention here, because it is a subject in itself. I just want to call your attention to it: According to ancient folklore and cosmology the Netherlands (especially the coastal part of Holland and Zealand) "fall under" the zodiacal sign of Cancer Crab. The symbol is connected with the Moon, tides, water, homeliness, shelter, pearls. There are many strange symbolic parallels which coincide with Zebulun.