Three New Bells Honor Three Spectacular People

The Netherlands Carillon, overlooking the City of Washington from its perch on a knoll beside Arlington National Cemetery, has been quiet of late. Every fifteen minutes, locals and visitors to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial had been accustomed to hearing familiar melodies and tunes played from on high. But late last year, the bells were removed for restoration. 

But not to worry! The bells will be back (with a rededication planned for early 2021) and better than ever. To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, three new bells have now been cast to augment the original set of fifty that were gifted in 1954 – elevating the Netherlands Carillon to ‘grand carillon’ status. 

The three new bells, fittingly cast at the Royal Eijsbouts foundry in the Netherlands, have each been named in honor of Americans who have contributed greatly to the progress of the human endeavor over the last three-quarters of a century. 

Dutch Ambassador André Haspels explained the first and largest bell (weighing 7,595 lbs.) is named in honor of General George C. Marshall, architect of the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild post-war Europe. Martin Luther King Jr. is honored with a 37.5-lb. bell for his pioneering work in human rights. The third new bell, at 26.5 lbs., pays tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt, who not only had Dutch ancestry, but who also worked tirelessly for the rights of women and propelled the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We can’t wait to hear them ring. Continue learning about the Netherlands Carillon restoration project at The Washington Post.

Image: A worker at the Dutch bell foundry Royal Eijsbouts in the Netherlands cleans the recently cast bell honoring Gen. George C. Marshall. Credit: Rob Fritsen, The Washington Post.