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). And 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 8pm) as well as special holiday concerts on Memorial Day and Labor Day (both at 2pm to 4pm). You can find more information here.
Photos of the Netherlands Carillon
360° Virtual Tours of the Netherlands Carillon
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.
Washington DC Visitor Guides
If you're coming in from out of town, here are some of the most popular guidebooks that can help you make the most of your visit.
- Lonely Planet
- Publisher: Lonely Planet
- Elise Hartman Ford
- Publisher: FrommerMedia
- Stephan Van Dam, Illustrator, Editor
- Publisher: VanDam, Inc
- DK Travel
- Publisher: DK Eyewitness Travel
And here are some interesting options for less traditional guidesbooks if you'd like an emphasis on exploring DC on foot or diving into some of the region's very rich history.
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
- Barbara Noe Kennedy