ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Sacrifice, partnership and national unity were celebrated at Arlington Ridge Park on Monday.
Officials with the National Park Service kicked off the start of a project to restore the Netherlands Carillon. In 1954, the 127-foot monument was gifted to the United States from the Netherlands as a symbol of gratitude for American aid during World War II. The upgrades, which include a steel replacement and three new bells will elevate the monument’s status to grand carillon.
“At its core, it’s about democracy, it’s about our friendship and it’s about how that transcends throughout time. The unique instrumentality of 53 bells will expand the musical capacity and we do summer concert series so it’ll bring new songs,” said Superintendent Charles Cuvelier with the National Park Service.
Those in attendance were joined by the Ambassador of the Netherlands Andre Haspels. He says the structure is much more than a symbol of friendship.
“Its the Dutch people who wanted to thank the American people for the sacrifices they made in the World War but also for the role they played to liberate us and to be able to start again after the Second World War in the next step in our social-economic development,” Haspels said.
The restoration is part of the Embassy’s year-long celebration, “75 years of freedom,” to commemorate the end of World War II. The restoration project is expected to be completed in early 2021.