Netherlands Carillon – Arlington, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Netherlands Carillon

An oft-overlooked, magically musical monolith that stands majestically between Arlington Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial. 

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This 127-foot tall tower is home to a 53-bell carillon that tolls the Westminster Chimes every quarter hour throughout the day, with automated concerts set to play on Dutch and American holidays. During the summer months, Edward Nassor hosts a series of weekly concerts performed by visiting carillonists.

The gargantuan glockenspiel bears an inscription that reads “From the People of the Netherlands to the People of the United States of America.”

The structure was a gift to show gratitude for the role the U.S. played in liberating the Netherlands from the Nazis and for providing economic aid to help rebuild after World War II.

The carillon was originally installed at West Potomac Park before the tower was completed. In 1960, the structure was constructed and the carillon was moved to its permanent location inside the giant campanile in Rosslyn, and a dedication ceremony was held on the 15th anniversary of Dutch independence. 

The carillon and tower underwent major renovations in 1995 and that same year, on the 50th anniversary of Dutch liberation day, the carillon was once again rededicated.

More recently in 2019, renovations were once again required, and in addition to the repair work, three bells were added to the instrument elevating it to “grand carillon” status.

Know Before You Go

The Netherlands Carillon has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Open year-round from 6 am until midnight.

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October 27, 2022

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