Home The Washington Diplomat Dutch Embassy unveils ‘New Bells of the Netherlands Carillon’ exhibit

Dutch Embassy unveils ‘New Bells of the Netherlands Carillon’ exhibit

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Dutch Embassy unveils ‘New Bells of the Netherlands Carillon’ exhibit
Valérie Beaudoin and Bill Stokes of the Marshall International Center, stand next to the Marshall Bell.

Two relatively small bells and one enormous bell were unveiled May 5 at the Dutch Embassy, as part of ceremonies marking the ongoing renovation of the Netherlands Carillon, one of metropolitan Washington’s most important landmarks.

The three bells will join 50 others at the 127-foot-high Carillon, a musical instrument situated on a ridge overlooking the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia.

The largest of the three, the Marshall Bell, is named after Secretary George C. Marshall, architect of the landmark Marshall Plan for European postwar recovery. Nearly six feet in diameter and weighing 7,595 pounds, it includes ornaments of classic Dutch images including windmills, the Dutch coat of arms and the “75 Years of Freedom” logo. It was unveiled by Valérie Beaudoin of the International Marshall Center.

Dutch Ambassador André Haspels gives opening remarks at the opening of his embassy’s “New Bells of the Netherlands Carillon” exhibition. (All photos courtesy of the Dutch Embassy)

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Bell weighs 37.5 pounds and was unveiled by Maryann James-Daley, director of the MLK Jr. Library. The smallest of the three, the Eleanor Roosevelt Bell, weighs 26.5 pounds and was unveiled by Tracy Roosevelt, great-granddaughter of the famous humanitarian.

Both the King and Roosevelt bells include their names and the coat of arms of the Netherlands and the United States.

Tracy Roosevelt holds the bell named for her great-grandmother, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Dutch Ambassador André Haspels and Charles Cuvelier, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, welcomed guests to the embassy’s outdoor exhibition, “The New Bells of the Netherlands Carillon,” which remained open for three days.

Owned and operated by the National Park Service, the Carillon was endorsed by Queen Juliana, who on April 4, 1952, presented a small silver bell to President Harry S Truman as a token of the carillon to come. Eventually a tower was built for the carillon, which was formally dedicated on May 5, 1960—the 15th anniversary of the Netherlands’ liberation from Nazi occupation.

“It was our way of thanking the United States for her contribution to the liberation of the Netherlands and the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild the European economy after the war,” said Haspels, noting ongoing renovation work by the National Park Service. “To coincide with the renovation, and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, we decided to add three new bells to the carillon.”

Maryann James-Daley, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, holds the bell named for Dr. King.

Haspels spoke of the significance of the carillon’s 51st, 52nd and 53rd bells dedicated to Marshall, King and Roosevelt.

“Freedom and justice, which they all vigorously promoted, are values that bind the United States and the Netherlands together,” said the Dutch ambassador. “It is therefore great to have you, the National Park Service, and representatives of organizations dedicated to legacy of these influential people, here today.”

Larry Luxner

Miami native Larry Luxner, a veteran journalist and photographer, has reported from more than 100 countries in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia for a variety of news outlets. He lived for many years in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Washington, D.C., area before relocating to Israel in January 2017. Larry has been news editor of The Washington Diplomat since 2005.