Thursday 09 February 2023

Musical road drives Dutch villagers crazy by playing Frisian national anthem


A small stretch of road which ‘plays’ part of the Frisian national anthem when cars drive over it is driving locals in the village of Jelsum to distraction.

Officials thought the musical road would fit in well with with Leeuwarden being European capital of culture in 2018, and would have an impact on road safety, as motorists who drove too fast slowed down to fit the tune.

But the cacophony of noise, especially when more than one car is using the road at the same time, is driving locals crazy.

The music, triggered when cars drive over a row of white ridges on the tarmac, was installed on Friday evening. ‘The Frisian national anthem is fine, but not 24-hours a day,’ Sijtze Jansma, who lives 200 metres from the N357, told RTL Nieuws. ‘I’m going nuts. You can’t sit outside and you can’t sleep at night.’

The locals are used to noise, given that their village is also home to an air force base where fighter jets regularly take off and land. ‘But I would rather the planes than this,’ Alie Tiemersma told the Leeuwarder Courant. ‘At least they stop at 5pm.’

Local Margriet de Ruiter told the newspaper the noise is ‘psychological torture’.

A spokesman for Frisland province said that the complaints are being taken seriously. ‘We’re meeting this afternoon to try and decide how to solve this,’ the spokesman told broadcaster RTL Nieuws. ‘I think we will take a decision today. This is not what we expected.’

The province paid €80,000 to install the musical road surface – a price which includes the removal costs, the spokesman said.

There are several other singing roads in the world and one in California also had to be removed after protests from locals.

Update Tuesday: Officials have bowed to public pressure and will close off the ‘musical’ edge of the road on Tuesday evening and then take it away permanently.

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