History before 1000 AD
About Westergeest in this time is little known, and
most information about this era is (to my opinion) the
result of assumptions, theories and creative thinking.
Westergeest is located on a rise in the landscape. Many
people see this as a mound (terp in dutch), but it's
probably a natural elevation, product of the last
ice-age. Among other things the sandy soil suggest this.
In any case, it means the location was probably inhabited
very early, since the surrounding area was often flooded
by the sea in those times.
The name Westergeest is derived from this rise in the
landscape. Geest (or gaast) means elevated sandy soil.
Whatever it is west of is not clear. In general it is
assumed to be west of the Wygeast at Oudwoude. Another
explanation is at the west of in that time Kollumerland.
For the second name of Westergeest, Foestrum, the
following explanation is given. In old times Westergeest
was called Fostera, named after the heathen goddess
Fostera. Later this was extended to Fosteraheim. It was
not uncommon to add -heim to a place-name. Fosteraheim
degenerated to Foestrum. When however Christianity came,
the church became aware of the heathen character of this
name and the village was given the name of Geast or
Westergast. The name Foestrum was made ridiculous and
degraded to a term of abuse.
A second explanation is a bit more simple. The
inhabitants of Westergeest were said to be somewhat
aggressive, as in, being ready to use their fists. Hence
people living south of the village gave Westergeest the
name Foestrum, derived from the frisian word fûst, which