Througout Dutch history, several tales have been told about the Meerman and his counterpart the Meermin.
It is said that back in 130 AD a big group of Mermen visited the coast of Friesland. Two of them went ashore and explored the area. Not much later they disappeared back into the sea.
An old legend speaks of a town called Westenschouwen, where one of the fisherman had caught a mermaid in his nets. She was taken aboard unwillingly where the fishermen ridiculed her and planned to bring her ashore for everyone to see. A merman rose above the waves and kindly asked the fishermen to free her, for she would surely die outside the water. But as much as he begged them, they were not interested in releasing such a unique catch. The mermen followed them into the harbor, but the townsfolk wouldn't listen to him. They answered his call by throwing rocks at him. Furiously, the merman punched the waves to foam. He preached a bad omen over the people of Westenschouwen and soon the village was cursed. The weather changed for the worse and the harbor silted. The rich became poor and the sands drifted through town, destroying entire buildings in the process. Soon enough, the whole town was cover in sand, and all that was left of Westenschouwen was a lonely little tower, protruding from the sand.