Baduhenna is a Frisian Goddess of war. Sadly nothing much is known about her but she has been described by Tacitus. Badwa is the proto-Germanic word for battle. Interestingly enough, there is also a Celtic battle Goddess known as Badb, she appears in the form of a crow on battlefields to guide fallen warriors. So you can compare Baduhenna with some sort of Valkyrie. Henna means leader/protector,her name means either protecter of battles, leader of battles or the driven into battle.

Tacitus described the following:

“Soon afterwards it was ascertained from deserters that nine hundred Romans had been cut to pieces in a wood called Baduhenna, after prolonging the fight to the next day, and that another body of four hundred, which had taken possession of the house of one Cruptorix, once a soldier in our pay, fearing betrayal, had perished by mutual slaughter.

The Frisian name thus became famous in Germany, and Tiberius kept our losses a secret, not wishing to entrust any one with the war.”

When Tacitus’ work was rediscovered in the 16th century, people started looking for the location of the grove in the Netherlands. At first it was thought that the location of the grove lies in modern day Frisia near the place Beetgum (baduheim), named after the Goddess. No archeological findings have been found there however that links the place with the grove.

In the 1980’s archeologists discovered a destroyed Roman fort near Velsen. The fort was destroyed in 28AD which is the exact same year when the battle of Baduhenna took place. This fort was most likely Castellum Flevum and so the Baduhenna grove must be nearby.

Skeletons, coins, pottery and weapons have been found at Velsen which fit the time era of the Frisian uprising in 28AD. The most probable location of the grove is Velserbroek, 3km away from the discovered Roman fort. We know that there was a place of sacrifice in Velserbroek.

Both velserbroek and Velsen are located in Kennemerland, The Netherlands. Kennemerland was once part of Frisia, now it lies south of West-Frisia. Daggers, spearheads, horse gear and parts of shields have been found as offer gifts. This looks like fitting objects to give to a battle Goddess. Both places have also been inhabited by people since 3500BC so an existing place of nature worship could have developed into Baduhenna’s grove during the iron age.

It is quite sad to see how this Goddess has been almost completely forgotten amongst the Dutch/Frisians and of course other Germanic people. Hopefully with the rise of modern heathenism, we can restore her worship again. Velserbroek is certainly a place worth visiting.