The Sound of Utrecht’s Domtoren

Today is Hemelvaart (Ascension Day) and a holiday here in the Netherlands. One of traditions (although I’m not sure how widespread/popular) is to head out early in the morning for a walk or bike ride. I woke up relatively early this morning and decided to follow the tradition and go for a walk around town. The weather was gorgeous and the city was peaceful and fairly empty, except for joggers and dog walkers, so it was a perfect time to wander. I’ve got a ton of photos, which I’m sure I’ll be posting, especially on days when words fail me.

Words kind of failed me this morning, from the sheer beauty of the city I live in. I had been walking along the Nieuwegracht, heading to the Domplein, when the bells of the Domtoren began to ring. I LOVE the sound and in that setting along the tree-lined canal, it was a perfect moment. As I left the Nieuwegracht and began to walk down Achter de Dom, the small street behind the cathedral, it all just got even better. With the cathedral rising up at the end of the street, the crenelated castle-like roof of one of the buildings on the left, the picturesque row of black Pyke Koch lamps, the blue sky, and the wonderful sound of the bells echoing and reverberating in the street, I really was in awe of getting to experience moments like this on a surprisingly regular basis. Life is good!
Achter De Dom

Since no one else was around, I filmed a bit of the experience to share, to give you a hint of what it’s like. Sadly, my camera can’t begin to capture the full experience. Still, I hope you get a sense of it all.


Hemelvaart and Assorted Activities


Happy Hemelvaart, otherwise known as Ascension Day. This is one of those rare Dutch national holidays that is just really foreign to me. Considering how quiet it has been in town today, at least on our side, you’d think that it was a major holiday carefully observed by everybody. The reality is probably that most people are having a quiet, lazy day at home or have gone to the beach to make the most of the slight improvement of the weather. Me? I’ve been writing about alloy wheels. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t feel like much of a holiday for me today.

I’ve fallen a bit behind on updating my calendar of events, but there are a couple of interesting events coming up this weekend. First up the Bier Brouwers Festival (Beer Brewers Festival). It takes place at Molen de Ster on Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m. Entrance is free, but if you want to try the beers, you have to purchase a special glass for €4. There will be eight brewers there with various beers on tap. There will also be food and music, and I’m sure it will be a fun experience.

Festival a/d Werf begins today and runs through May 26. For the next 10 days, the city becomes a stage for all sorts of arts and performances. If you’ve been wondering about strange temporary structures popping up around town, this is most likely the answer!

Finally, starting tomorrow, the Design Route 030 (030 is the Utrecht area code) kicks off. Thirty designers, new and established, will have their work on display in various shop windows and other locations. The event kicks off tomorrow night at 20:00, with an opening party at Winkel van Sinkel. You can walk the route on your own any time to see the different works. It runs through 24 May, and you can find the route on the website. The Dutch do some talented work in the design field, so it’s definitely worth checking out.