Dutch Folklore Wikia
Excavation of the Sommeltjesberg as depicted by Pieter van Cuyck (1720 - 1787)
Excavation of the Sommeltjesberg as depicted by Pieter van Cuyck (1720 - 1787)
Also Known As Sammelkes, Sammeltjes
Province Noord Holland
City De Waal, Wieringen

Natural Habitat Civilisation, Dunes, Hills, Holes

Sommeltjes are a type of gnome that found their origin on the Noord Holland island of Texel, where they lived in a hill known as the Sommeltjesberg close to a town called De Waal. The exact location of this hill is unknown as it was excavated in the 18th century, possibly explaining why nobody believed in them by the end of the 19th century. It appears the grave was a roman grave hill. While some theories say "Sommeltje" was derived from the Dutch word "verzamelen", which means "to collect", it might also have been derived from "tumulus", an old synonym for grave hill.[1]


The Sommeltjes were strictly nocturnal because sunlight could turn them to stone. Moonlight however changed them back to their natural form. People from De Waal said these Sommeltjes could turn invisible or shapeshift into a wide arrangement of animals. They were friendly spirits that came out to dance on the Sommeltjesberg and dunes, especially favoring stormy nights.[2] Sometimes a drunkard wandered across the area and witnessed something he could not comprehend.[3] The Sommeltjes were also known to follow people wandering about late at night, making sure to stay out of their sight. As such, people feared the friendly spirits. Sommeltjes were very helpful spirits however, often sneaking into people's homes to help with errands. They were said to borrow items which they would then repay in double.[4] The word sommeltje has also been used as a synonym for ghosts.


Stories of the Sommeltjes from Texel blew over to the mainland town of Wieringen. Here they are known as Sammeltjes or Sammelkes and lived in a hole called the "Sammelkeskuil", located at the Hippolytushoef in Zandburen. Same as with the sommeltjesberg, the sammelkeskuil does not exist anymore. The Sammeltjes were said to steal anything that wasn't tied down[5], enjoyed smoking pipe, played flutes the size of a fountain pen and absolutely loved shiny things, copper in particular. People with money on them often found silver coins missing from their purse after they had just walked past the Sammelkeskuil. If one were to leave a dirty pot on their porch, they would find it good as new within the Sammelkeskuil the next day. They especially liked copper material and would sometimes borrow a kettle of the sort. They would polish it after they had cooked their homemade sausages, which they would gift upon returning the kettle. Parents also told their children that all babies come from the Sammeltjes.[6]