Church Bells

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Kirche Fluntern

One summer during college, H lived in Grinnell, Iowa across the street from the Methodist church. The bells rang during the day and played “Ein Feste Berg ist Unser Gott” in the morning. Before we moved to Zürich, I noticed from Google Street View that we would be close to Kirche Fluntern. I knew we would be treated to chiming bells.

In the first few days here, when we were getting over jet lag, we could tell what time it was even in the dark of night. One bell is 15 minutes past the hour. Two bells, the half hour. Three the quarter hour. Four bells is the hour, and then in a different tone, you hear the number of hours. Midnight and noon have lots of bells. Since there are laws about not making noise after 22:00 and on Sundays (don’t be caught recycling or taking out trash then! You will be fined.), it seems ironic that the bells play on and on during all hours. Of course, after awhile you don’t even hear them.

Now, at 7:00, 11:00 and 19:00 after the allotted bells, you are treated to an additional clanging that goes on for about four minutes. Except on Saturday and Sunday. Then the first morning bells are at 9:00 or 10:00. I don’t remember which. I’m sure I’ll be reminded again next weekend. Occasionally they will ring at an odd time on the weekend. For weddings? Funerals?

Now, this is just what I notice about Kirche Fluntern. Sometimes when we are out in the old town we hear bells at various other times, so I don’t think all churches follow the same bell schedule.

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One thought on “Church Bells

  1. We love the bells here. During our first week in Fribourg, we stayed at an Airbnb right next to lovely peeling bells. Our church here in Onnens is not quite as active (or loud). Our neighbor just told us this weekend that many of the locals have petitioned to have the bells silenced, as they find it intrusive. How sad if that happens!

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