Dutch Villagers Silence 'Singing Road'

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April 11, 2018

In the end, the "singing road" lasted just a few days.

Singing road Friesland

In an effort to promote Leeuwarden, a Dutch city that is the 2018 European Capital of Culture, transport officials installed on a stretch of the N357 road between Stiens and Leeuwarden a series of safety strips that played music when vehicles drove over them. In all, it was 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) of music-inducing asphalt.

The music was "De âlde Friezen," the anthem of Friesland, at the northern trip of the Netherlands; if a motorist drove over the "singing" rumble strips at the speed limit–which was 60 kmh or 40 mph–the anthem would play at normal speed and in key. Driving at a slower speed would result in the anthem's being played at a slower speed and not in key; conversely, a fast driver would hear a faster version of the anthem, again not in key.

Residents of Jeslum, a nearby village, protested loudly, complaining that the "singing" was disrupting their waking and sleeping lives. Some people said that some drivers drove over the rumble strips as quickly as possible in order to see how fast they could make the music play.

The "singing" strips were installed on a Friday and removed on the following Wednesday. Total cost, including demolition, was €80,000 ($99,000).

Hear the anthem

Read the words of the anthem

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