Views Without Vertigo

I have a confession to make. Despite my love of the Domtoren, I’ve never climbed it. You see, I did climb the Campanile bell tower in Florence, but that was when I truly understood that I’m not a fan of going down stairs without a handrail. I always have a feeling that I’m just going to pitch forward. I’m like that with any stairs. Walking down the narrow, heavily worn, relatively steep steps of that tower was a nightmare for me and it’s about 30 meters shorter than the Domtoren. Fortunately, it was narrow enough that I could put a hand on both walls to give myself some sense of security, but occasionally we’d be met by people going up the stairs, which meant I often sort of pressed myself up against the wall and waited until they passed, for fear that their momentum would somehow unbalance me.

In the case of the bell tower in Florence, we were left to our own devices going up and down, so I could take as long as I needed to, but here in Utrecht, the tours of the Domtoren are guided, so you have to go with a group. Add in a knee injury a few years ago, and the result is that I’ve never gotten up the nerve to go up.

Fortunately, thanks to Google, I can now take a virtual tour of the Domtoren. Using the same street view option that allows you to get a 360-view of streets, neighbourhoods, and cities, you can now do the same with certain moments, including the Domtoren.

You can see the different levels of the tower by choosing levels 1-5, from the ground floor to the top exterior. I’m particularly fond of the view on level four, as you look up at the bells and the massive Gothic windows. On level three, you can actually move the image so that you are standing beneath the bells, looking directly up into them, clapper and all!

So if you’re like me and have an issue with stairs or heights, or if you just can’t get to Utrecht, you can now explore to your heart’s content with this great option. Zoom in, twirl about, look at the details … and maybe you’ll find yourself determined to get over your issues so you can go see it all in person.


I’m going to canvas for comments again for my blog over at Expats Blog. Many of you have already left me amazing comments that have truly moved me, but if you haven’t and feel so inclined, please leave a comment on that page. With enough positive comments, it will help me be chosen Top Netherlands Blog.

11 thoughts on “Views Without Vertigo

    • Oh yeah, it’s definitely my own little quirk and I’m sure most people are fine. I wouldn’t have thought anything about it if I hadn’t already had the experience in Italy. Considering how much higher the Domtoren is, I’m glad that wasn’t where I realized how much of an issue it is for me!

  1. We were in Utrecht for the first time back in late April (Koninginnedag!). We climbed most of the way up the Domtoren, but it was hard. The stairs are indeed very narrow and steep with no handrail. And the tour group walked fast – my wife and I could barely keep up! At each stopping point I was huffing and puffing quite a bit.

    And my poor wife got vertigo between level 3 & 4 on your google link. A complete panic attack, and I had fun trying to explain in Dutch what was going on (I was challenging myself to only speak Dutch while visiting, and I’ve only been self-learning for a few years). The tour guide let us go down at our own pace though while she took everyone else up to level 5.

    Thanks to your link, we can now see what we missed, sans the scary feelings and other tourists making fun of us! I did like the room with the bells, but it’s very dark in there in reality compared to the photos.

    • I can sympathize with the huffing and puffing! When my friend and I climbed the tower in Italy, we took long breaks in between levels to get our breath back. I have a LOT of photos from each level, as a result, and that was back in the days of film!

      I’m so sorry your wife had a panic attack, but at least you were able to go down at your own pace. Still, I’m sure she was happy to be done with it all at the time. Now I’m extra glad I shared this link, so you could see the last levels.

  2. I climbed up a few years ago and was so impressed by the views, even on a day that was overcast, a bit rainy, and foggy. The colors were spectacular.

    I have to admit though, I’m much like you–I have a fear of uneven stairs and am always convinced I will plummet forward and take out anyone who’s below me. Same with heights, like I’ll fall off or drop something valuable.

  3. Pingback: Insert Irony Here « A Flamingo in Utrecht

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