Of the bells, bells, bells, bells…

Domtoren, Utrecht

We live just down the street from the Domtoren (Cathedral Tower) in Utrecht, the tallest church tower in Holland. That means we are constantly hearing the sounds of the 17th-century carillon, the set of 13 bells inside the tower weighing between 880 and 1,800 pounds each.

The bells ring every hour and, on the weekends, special tunes are played by the old-fashioned sounding Utrecht Klokkenluiders Gilde. This took some getting used to on my first Saturday in Utrecht.

The Dutch must be big on bells because I hear them all the time. It puts cheer in the air and a spring in your step when you’re walking about town. When I went to Haarlem on market day, the central square was reverberating with a crescendo of bells for a full half hour… I started to go a bit loopy and recite Edgar Ellen Poe to myself.

To the rolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells –
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.


About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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4 Responses to Of the bells, bells, bells, bells…

  1. James says:

    Every hour?!
    I thought we had it bad living next door to a church in Berlin – but it seems we’re getting off lightly as they only ring on certain days at certain times (9am on Friday, a lot on Sunday).
    Guess it beats living next door to a crack den!

    • africagrows says:

      Do you live next door to a crack den? I recommend “Down to This: Splendour and Squalor in Tent City” by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, it’s by a Canadian guy who lived in a crack-den-squatter-slum in Toronto. Those bells nearly drove me mad on Saturday when I was trying to study. It’s excessive.

  2. James says:

    Sounds good! The book, not the bells. Will check it out, thanks!

  3. James says:

    Oh, and no – we don’t live to a crack den. But we’re looking for a new apartment so maybe we’ll end up next to one!

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