Netherlands Carillon

The Netherlands Carillon stands next to the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery and offers one of the best views in the area.

Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, Virginia, with Tulips
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Standing near both the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, the Netherlands Carillon has one of the best views in the area. It stands on a hill looking over the Potomac past the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and US Capitol Dome, offering views like this.

The 50 bells that make up the Carillon were a gift from the people of the Netherlands to the people of the United States in gratitude for assistance during World War II. After first arriving in 1954, the bells were temporarily hung in West Potomac Park. A new, permanent tower was built for them across the Potomac, and they were installed in their current position in 1960.

The bronze alloy bells are hung in a tower 127 feet high (and no, it’s not open for climbing, unfortunately). While you can’t see them up close, each of the bells is inscribed with symbols of aspects of Dutch society as well as poetry by Dutch poet Ben van Eysselsteijn.

During the spring, there’s a large flower garden at its base featuring, naturally enough, tulips. And you can hear the bells ringing in automated concerts throughout the day and chiming the hour. During the summer there are free, live concerts every Saturday evening (6 to 8 pm) as well as special holiday concerts on Memorial Day and Labor Day (both at 2 pm to 4 pm). You can find more information here.

Photos of the Netherlands Carillon

The Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
ARLINGTON, VA – A silhouette of one of the two stone sphinxs that stand at the base of the Netherlands Carillon. The Netherlands Carillon, a gift from the Netherlands to the United States in gratitude for assistance during World War II, stands in parkland near the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. With 50 bells, it was installed in its current spot in 1960. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon Arlington VA Lion Bronze Statue
ARLINGTON, Virginia, United States — One of the two bronze statues of lions standing guard at the Netherlands Carillon next to Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial. First donated in 1954, the Carillon was moved to its current location in 1960. It was a gift of the Netherlands to the United States in thanks for US aid during World War II. This 127-foot tall open steel structure, gifted by the Netherlands to the United States after World War II, symbolizes Dutch gratitude for American aid and the ongoing friendship between the two nations. Silhouette of one of the sphinxes at the base of Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, Virginia. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tulips at the Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
ARLINGTON, Virginia, United States — The Netherlands Carillon, a gift from the Netherlands to the United States in gratitude for assistance during World War II, stands in parkland near the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. With 50 bells, it was installed in its current spot in 1960. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon in Arlington VA
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Bells of the Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The Netherlands Carillon, a gift from the Netherlands to the United States in gratitude for assistance during World War II, stands in parkland near the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. With 50 bells, it was installed in its current spot in 1960. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon Arlington VA Western Face
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon in Arlington, Virginia
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon Arlington VA Tulips at Base
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
The Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The Netherlands Carillon, a gift from the Netherlands to the United States in gratitude for assistance during World War II, stands in parkland near the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. With 50 bells, it was installed in its current spot in 1960. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon
The Netherlands Carillon is behind the camera in this shot. It’s taken off a reflection of a plate filter. Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
The Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tulip Garden at the Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
The Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
The Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
The Netherlands Carillon in Arlingon, Virginia
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon Arlington VA Bell Tower
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Netherlands Carillon Arlington VA Dedication
ARLINGTON, Virginia, United States — Dedication inscription on the base of the Netherlands Carillon next to Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial. It reads: “From the people of the Netherlands to the People of the United States of America.”

Ultra-High Resolution Panorama of the Netherlands Carillon

Here’s an ultra-high resolution panorama (2.6 gigapixels) that allows you to zoom in considerably to see details, including the etchings on some of the bells.

Map of the Netherlands Carillon

Official Website for the Netherlands Carillon

NPS

In the spring, there are lots of tulips around the area. Another good option is the tulip garden at the base of the Floral Library.

Questions about the Netherlands Carillon

Where is the best place to park near the Netherlands Carillon?

There’s limited free parking close by, next to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Another option is on-street parking in the neighborhood just up the hill (many spots are metered). A third option is to park at the Arlington National Cemetery parking lot and walk through the northern part of the cemetery when it’s open or along the path running just outside the northeast perimeter–it’s roughly half a mile.

What hours is the Netherlands Carillon open?

The Netherlands Carillon is in an open outdoor park near the Iwo Jima Memorial. The area isn’t fenced and is accessible day and night. The grounds are technically closed from midnight to 6am, but there’s no gate or fence to prevent access, and the reality is that the pathway running in front of it is a popular one for early-morning bike and pedestrian commuters as well as joggers.

Do you need tickets to visit the Netherlands Carillon?

No, it’s in an open public park. You can’t actually climb up into the structure–internal access is gated off at its base–but you can visit the grounds around it.

When are the tulips in bloom in front of the Netherlands Carillon?

As with any flowering plants, the precise schedule depends on local weather conditions in the weeks and months before the bloom, but you can typically expect them to be blooming around the first couple of weeks of April (give or take).

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