Bell Raisers Head to the Netherlands

Bell Raisers gathered at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands this weekend to view the three new bells cast for the Netherlands Carillon – centerpieces of an exhibit to celebrate the country's liberation from occupation in World War II.

The three bells are dedicated to three influential Americans whose legacy impacted the world, including the Netherlands, during and after World War II: Secretary George C. Marshall, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt.

While those bells were being cast, the existing 50 bells made their way to Royal Eijsbouts bellfoundry in the Netherlands for refurbishment. A new music console and keyboard, together with some general sprucing of the tower structure, will complete the bell tower restoration project. Interested in learning more? Explore this Historic Structure Report prepared by the National Park Service.

Many thanks to His Excellency Ambassador André Haspels and the entire embassy team for making us feel so welcome! Here’s to 75 more years of peace and friendship.

What’s the Netherlands Carillon?

The Netherlands Carillon was a gift from the people of the Netherlands to the people of the United States as a gesture of gratitude for America’s contribution to the liberation of the Netherlands and for the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild the Dutch/European economy.

The musical instrument was symbolically presented to the United States in 1952. In 1954, the bells were placed in a temporary tower in Washington, D.C. In 1960, the bells found a permanent home in a 127-foot-tall tower in Arlington Ridge Park in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The current renovation of the Netherlands Carillon (bell tower and bells) began in 2019 and is expected to be finished by autumn of this year. To increase the musical capacity of the instrument, three new bells will be added to the existing 50 bells – elevating the tower to grand carillon status.