We’ve been here for almost a year and a half at this point, but it wasn’t until last month that I finally learned about the loud siren I hear occasionally. It’s an incredibly loud siren, and I remember being startled by it the first time I heard it. However, there was no screaming in the streets or lots of people running, so I figured I was safe. I’ve sort of ignored it ever since. Merian was visiting last month and happened to be here when the siren went off. I finally thought to ask what it was signifying.
It turns out that the siren is a test done on the first Monday of every month at noon. As long as that’s when you hear the clarion call, no worries. If you hear it any time other than that, well, duck and cover! Get indoors, close the windows, check the news, because something bad is happening. Today is the first Monday of the month and I heard the siren go off 20 minutes ago, right on time. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to try to record it until it was too late. I gather it’s a nationwide test, not just Utrecht’s schedule. So, for my fellow expats who might have been as clueless as I was until recently, now you know what the sirens are for. Let’s just hope we never hear them at any other time.